Pavilion of the United Arab Emirates at 54th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia

Initiated and supported by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, the Emirates Foundation for Philanthropy and the Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), the Pavilion of the UAE presents “Second Time Around” at the 54th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. The exhibition is developed and presented under the leadership of its Commissioner, Dr. Lamees Hamdan, a member of the Board of Directors of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and Curator Vasıf Kortun, an internationally respected writer and Director of Research and Programs, SALT, Istanbul.

“Second Time Around” presents the work of three artists: One an obstinate artist who does not care one way or another if he is in any exhibition as long as he is able to work in his own precise way, a second very young artist whose installation practice speaks to the UAE in the most novel way probable, and third an artist who has assimilated, and dehypostatized the transformation of her environs. The exhibition does not offer totalizing claims or weak sociology. It is “curated” around three artistic positions, Reem Al Ghaith, Abdullah Al Saadi and Lateefa Bint Maktoum. It is set in same-size spaces that are actual islands on their own.

The architecture firm Superpool created the scenography of the UAE Pavilion exhibition, stating that, “UAE Pavilion is one of the largest halls in the Arsenale. The aim of the scenography is to focus on each artist without dividing the hall into segments. Three “islands” work as simple support structures to the artists who are very different in their approach and use of media, existing individually within the spaciousness of the hall”.

The Artists

Reem Al Ghaith holds a BSc in Visual Communication from the School of Architecture and Design, American University of Sharjah, UAE. Her work examines changes in the urban and social landscape of the UAE, often with sophisticated all-around installations that relate to tradition and history, yet do not fall into banal representations and fascinations of the subject. The intertwined structure of her work deliberately places itself far away from being representative.

Abdullah Al Saadi holds a degree in English Literature from United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, UAE. In 1994-1996 he studied Japanese painting at Kyoto Seika University in Japan. He lives and works in Khorfakan, outside the art world and untethered by its demands and daily routines. His work is a daily practice of recording, inventing normative groupings, and documenting species that are beyond “scientific inquiry.”

Lateefa Bint Maktoum holds a degree in Visual Art from Zayed University, Latifa Collage. Her practice larger consists of composite, digitally manipulated images based on highlighted, enhanced, and conflated realities from her immediate memories as well as the distant past. Her compositions combine an aestheticism of British painting with enhanced local fauna and flora that sit in stark opposition to images of urbanization.

The Pavilion of the United Arab Emirates

Location: Arsenale-Artiglierie