15th International Architecture Exhibition Venice Biennale 20— —
15th International Architecture Exhibition Venice Biennale 2016
The verb is our world
For Ola-Dele Kuku, an architect-artist, the verb, source of every mutation, is our world’s engine. Behind the heads side of objects, Ola-Dele looks for the tails side. His architectural objects display that reversal, redefining space : « To see the object, one must turn around it ». Thus, Ola-Dele bypasses the object to escape its image. « Images create ambiguity. Images are not a mere scenery, but a source of sensation, it can project anger, fear, discomfort, odour or even disgust.”
For him, the strongest image is that of mental object. Our constructions, material or immaterial, impose an order, but this order is unstable, because the links between its elements are fragile. When Ola-Dele writes in neon : « Africa is not a country », Ola-Dele attests such volatility.
What is not visible, may be imagined. « At the airport, I cannot see it all. But if I speak the word, my mind is wide enough to encompass it. It is the force of the verb. Text is the great image of the world.”
Creating a new word means creating a new world.
Clear-sighted blind : Ola sculpts text, first in the form of Braille, a language that only those who do not see can decipher. Fascinated by books and text, he created a sculpture, Teatro dell’Archivio, a book dispenser, sensuous and accurate machine made of wood, eye, orifice, totem that offers to find, preserve and assimilate knowledge. « In the past, I was working on objects. Today, I work on words, transformed in ritual objects. »
Full circle. Apparent uselessness of Ola’s sculptures invites us to grasp the utility of the ineffable. The architect speaks : « What is a missing in living space ? Learning. To learn, one must get out of the utilitarian order, leave the house. »
This is what this exhibition shows us : learning to get out of ourselves to read what surrounds us.
Born in Lagos, Ola-Dele Kuku studied in California and Switzerland. Architect, he created Ola-Dele Kuku Projects in Milan in 1991, and sowed his installations from Nagoya to Ghent, from Dakar to St-Etienne, from Antwerp to Turin. Prize-winner winner of the IFI Nagoya International Design Competition, the Tech-Art Prize Award of the Antwerp Chamber of Engineers, the Henry Van De Velde Prize of the Ghent Design Museum and the Foundation for Artistic Creation in Brussels, his last works were at the Nigerian Pavilion of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition, 2016 Venice Biennale.