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May 22nd - November 21st, 2021


Skirting the Center: Svetlana Kana Radevic on the Periphery of Postwar Architecture

Collateral Event of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia

Curated by: Dijana Vucinic and Anna Kats

For further information:

Location: Palazzo Palumbo Fossati, San Marco 2597

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Opening hours: 10 am - 6 pm, closed on Monday.

The extensive built work, almost completely unknown internationally, of a celebrated Montenegrin and Yugoslav architect to be brought to light at the Biennale Architettura 2021 from May 22nd until November 21st at the Palazzo Malvasia Palumbo Fossati.

Svetlana Kana Radević (1937-2000) among the most prominent architects in socialist Yugoslavia, designed anti-fascist memorials, hotels, and residential projects—celebrated for their deft synthesis of local materials and international tendencies, as well as a generosity of proportions and informal spaces for leisure and exchange. 

The exhibition will show original drawings, photographs, and correspondences from her personal archive, a trove of newly-discovered materials that make it possible to contextualize and historicize an exceptional, overlooked figure of postwar architecture.

Her private archive shows that in the geopolitical circumstances of her professional life, Svetlana Kana Radević was an architectural figure across societal registers: regionally, negotiating between vernacular building tradition and the globalizing tendencies of late modernism; nationally, designing celebrated civic spaces and social condensers that facilitated a progressive public sphere between the socialist state and its citizenry; and internationally, articulating a decentered, post-colonial axis by which the Montenegrin architect simultaneously and seamlessly worked between Philadelphia, Tokyo, and Podgorica.

She studied and worked under both Louis Kahn and Kisho Kurokawa but already as an established architect with her major works such as Hotel Podgorica, Bus station and Petrovac building already built while working on her Master degree in Kahn’s studio.

The exhibition, curated by Dijana Vucinic and Anna Kats, aims to significantly expand her representation within the architectural canon by exhibiting the highlights of her built work for the first time: the Hotel Podgorica (1964-1967) and the Hotel Zlatibor (1979-1981), with expansive public spaces that welcomed both locals and visitors to commingle in environments that made socialist broadly luxury accessible; the Petrovac Apartment Building (1967), with its sculptural façade and expansive apartment layouts; as well as the Monument to Fallen Fighters at Barutana (1980), a sculptural memorial landscape that commemorates local anti-fascist fighters.

Radević remains the only woman and, at 29, the youngest architect to ever win the prestigious Borba Architecture Prize, socialist Yugoslavia’s highest architectural honor which she received in 1969. The exhibition is supported by the President of Montenegro, its Capital City and numerous private companies from Kana’s hometown of Podgorica.

Courtesy of APSS Institute

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