Voices From the Archives

“It struck us as surprising that nothing has ever been published on the political and institutional background of this Nordic collaboration,” said Mari Lending this Tuesday at Princeton’s Media + Modernity Program. She was referring to the subject of her new book, authored with fellow speaker Erik Langdalen, entitled Sverre Fehn, Nordic Pavilion, Venice: Voices from the Archives. Avoiding the tendency to be yet-another-interpreter of Fehn’s work, Lending said she and Langdalen “use[d] the archives as [their] voluntary straight jacket by sticking to the facts, undisturbed by poetry and myth, including those produced by the architect himself.” This proved to be challenging; Fehn wasn’t personally concerned with archiving his work, and the internationally collaborative nature of the project made the search daunting. At first, Langdalen recounted, the only extant drawings of the pavilion were Fehn’s original competition drawings. However, after contacting the son of the Danish architect who had supervised the construction, “miraculously we found all the structural and al…

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