All the best British exhibits to see at the Venice Architecture Biennale

·2-min read
the british pavilion 2023
Best of British at Venice Architecture BiennaleTaran Wilkhu/courtesy of the British Council

This weekend sees the grand opening of the British Pavilion at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale. The British Council and the commissioned curators – Jayden Ali, Joseph Henry, Meneesha Kellay and Sumitra Upham – are presenting Dancing Before the Moon, a series of new art installations on an architectural scale by six artists and architects, alongside a new film and soundtrack.

Dancing Before the Moon explores how quotidian social practices contribute instrumentally to shaping public space, and considers the role of such rituals and traditions in changing the way we think about architecture. Highlights of the display include a set of ceramic vessels by the interdisciplinary artist Shawanda Corbett that cast mesmerising shadows on the walls, representing a community of women in pursuit of spiritual healing. Equally transfixing is Yussef Agbo-Ola’s Muluku: 6 Bone Temple, a structure created by weaving organic cotton onto a frame to evoke the skin patterns of extinct and endangered creatures.

shawanda corbett, a healing is coming, british pavilion 2023
Shawanda Corbett, A healing is coming, British Pavilion 2023Taran Wilkhu/courtesy of the British Council


yussef agbo ola british pavilion
Yussef Agbo-Ola, Muluku: 6 Bone Temple, British Pavilion 2023Taran Wilkhu/courtesy of the British Council

If you’re visiting the Pavilion, make sure to catch a showing of Burnt Milk, a new short film commissioned for the Biennale that will be shown during the preview on 19 May and on a weekly basis throughout the festival. Inspired by the Jamaican heritage of its producer-and-director duo, Ruby and Joseph Elmhirst, the piece features a monologue from a young woman, Una (voiced by the British actress Tamara Lawrance), who has been sent to the UK as part of the Windrush generation. We watch Una as she prepares a traditional Jamaican pudding of ‘burnt milk’ – a process that triggers memories of her homeland.

burnt milk
A still from Burnt MilkCourtesy of Burnt Milk

Together, the selection of works presented at this year’s British Pavilion offers a powerful reflection on the importance of different community rituals to the way we inhabit society, and challenge the architecture industry to think in fresh ways about their profession.

The 18th International Architecture Exhibition runs from 20 May to 26 November.

You Might Also Like