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The Ruskin & Gavagnin Wings

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[VENICE BIENNALE 2010] Collaborators Wolfgang Scheppe, artist-philosopher; Robert Hewison, cultural historian; The Ruskin Library; Alvio and Gabriella Gavagnin, photographers

Exhibited in the pavilion’s wings are two attempts to archive Venice, separated by one-and-a-half centuries.

In the Ruskin Wing, a visual narrative curated by Robert Hewison (author of Ruskin on Venice, Yale, 2009) describes the working methods used by art historian John Ruskin for his seminal work The Stones of Venice, first published in 1851. Alongside is a selection of Ruskin’s notebooks, documenting his obsessive interest in the architectural details of the city. These sketches helped produce the pattern books that popularised Venetian detail in Victorian England, a trend Ruskin came to despise.

In the Gavagnin Wing, Wolfgang Scheppe reveals a previously unseen collection of photographs from the second half of the 20th century by Alvio and Gabriella Gavagnin, residents of the working-class area adjacent to the biennale’s site, the Giardini. Liza Fior, partner at Muf, calls these ‘glimpses into everyday life’ through ‘pure tectonic details’.

The sketches and photographs are brought together by Scheppe in Done.Book (Hatje Cantz, 2010).

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