January 16, 2017 - United Arab Emirates Pavilion at the Venice Biennale - United Arab Emirates Pavilion at the Venice Biennale – 57th International Art Exhibition: Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play
January 16, 2017

United Arab Emirates Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Photo courtesy of National Pavilion UAE.

United Arab Emirates Pavilion at the Venice Biennale – 57th International Art Exhibition
Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play
May 13–November 26, 2017

United Arab Emirates Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
Arsenale - Sale d'Armi
Venice
Italy

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The National Pavilion United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced the five UAE-based contemporary artists who will be participating at the 57th International Art Exhibition at la Biennale di Venezia (Venice Biennale). Commissioned by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation and supported by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, the exhibition will run from May 13 to November 26, 2017, with a preview from May 10 to 12, 2017.

The exhibition, titled Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play, will present works by five artists who are nationals and long-term residents who call the UAE home: Nujoom AlghanemSara Al HaddadVikram DivechaLantian Xie and Dr. Mohamed Yousif.

Curated by Hammad Nasar, a curator and writer, and most recently served as Head of Research and Programmes at Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong (2012-2016), this exhibition will explore a strand of artistic practice in the UAE through the analogy of play. Featuring existing works, re-fabrication of "lost" works and new commissions, the exhibition will stage a set of nested questions: where does "playfulness" in artistic practice come from? How and where is "play" nurtured? What does "play" do?

“We are delighted to work with this group of contemporary artists in shaping an exhibition that stages an inter-generational conversation,” says Hammad Nasar. “Through the artists’ diverse and distinctive practices, we believe that this exhibition will bring to life wider cultural and societal ideas of how ‘play’ functions in the world—as a source of vitality and a method of navigation.”

The accompanying publication will serve both as an additional site of the exhibition, and as its speculative expansion, with newly commissioned texts by contributors including: Aisha Bilkhair; Uzma Rizvi; and Murtaza Vali; with further contributors to be announced shortly. Artists, architects and creative writers have also been invited to intervene, and respond to the themes of the exhibition, with new commissions by: Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh & Hesam Rahmanian; Deepak Unikrishnan; and, WTD magazine. 

In line with the curatorial premise, several cultural institutions across the UAE have been invited to act as interlocutors in exploring the themes of the exhibition. Some of the confirmed institutions include Sharjah Art FoundationThe Art Gallery at NYU Abu DhabiAlserkal ProgrammingTashkeel, Maraya Art Centre and Warehouse421By developing these themes in ways they deem relevant, this will serve to extend, expand, critique, reflect and respond to the myriad issues that the exhibition may catalyze. More information on the institutions’ programs will be announced soon; members of the public can also follow the story using the hashtags #positionsinplay, #uaeinvenice and #nationalpavilionuae. 

“We see this exhibition as a contribution and extension to an ongoing conversation that continues beyond the time of the exhibition, and that the programing generated by each institution as a starting point for ongoing discussions,” says Khulood Al Atiyat, Manager of Arts, Culture and Heritage at the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation. “These events will take multiple forms, including artist talks, workshops, game sessions, a film series, or artist interventions.”

The International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale is one of the world’s most prestigious arts events and brings together countries from around the world, attracting more than half a million visitors to each edition. 2017 will mark the UAE’s fifth participation at the International Art Exhibition.

For press inquiries:
Brunswick Arts
T +971 (0) 2 234 4600 / T +44 (0) 207 936 1290 / npuae [​at​] brunswickgroup.com

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Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play
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