Ruya Foundation announces Philippe Van Cauteren as curator of the National Pavilion of Iraq for the 56th Venice Biennale

Ruya Foundation announces Philippe Van Cauteren as curator of the National Pavilion of Iraq for the 56th Venice Biennale

Iraq Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Philippe Van Cauteren. Photo: Anna Drijbooms.

November 19, 2014

Pavilion of Iraq
56th Venice Biennale

9 May–22 November 2015

Preview: Tuesday 5 May–Friday 8 May

www.theiraqpavilion.com
www.ruyafoundation.org
www.smak.be

Curator: Philippe Van Cauteren, Director, S.M.A.K.
Commissioner: Ruya Foundation for Contemporary Culture in Iraq
Local commissioner: Vittorio Urbani, Nuova Icona


Ruya Foundation for Contemporary Culture in Iraq (Ruya) is delighted to announce the appointment of Philippe Van Cauteren as curator of the National Pavilion of Iraq for the 56th Biennale di Venezia in May 2015. The appointment follows the great success of Welcome to Iraq, which Ruya commissioned for the 55th edition of the Biennale in 2013.

Philippe Van Cauteren, artistic director of S.M.A.K. Museum for Contemporary Art in Ghent, who co-curated the Pavilion of Belgium in 2013, has been appointed by Ruya to curate a pavilion that resonates with the rich scope of Iraqi identity extending beyond the country’s fragile borders. Van Cauteren is in conversation with a range of artists from various disciplines and will finalise his vision for the exhibition after a trip to Iraq, organised and facilitated by Ruya.

Van Cauteren’s commitment to nurturing and empowering Iraqi artists also extends beyond the Biennale. He said, “the Pavilion exhibition will constitute the beginning of a continued relationship with Ruya, working to enable a new generation of Iraqi artists to transcend their geography and prosper on a global scale.”

Chairman of Ruya Tamara Chalabi said, “Philippe Van Cauteren is suitably positioned to explore Iraq’s complicated terrain, having worked in diverse international contexts, as well as further enlarging S.M.A.K.’s artistic focus. At this very critical juncture in Iraq’s existence, Ruya believes that the presence of a National Pavilion of Iraq at Venice will act as a crucial ambassador for the endurance of Iraqi contemporary culture.”

To coincide with the exhibition Ruya is producing a book in collaboration with Mousse Publishing. The exhibition will travel to S.M.A.K. in spring 2016. Further details about the pavilion and the artists involved will be announced in March 2015.

About Ruya Foundation for Contemporary Culture in Iraq
Ruya Foundation for Contemporary Culture in Iraq (Ruya) is an Iraqi-registered not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation founded in 2012 by Iraqi art and culture enthusiasts with the aim of aiding and enriching culture in Iraq, and building cultural bridges with the world. Ruya’s fundamental aim is to promote culture in Iraq—a mission with particular significance at a time when priorities are focused elsewhere—and to build a sustainable platform that will enable Iraqis in the arts, the young in particular, to benefit from and participate in international events. Concurrent with its ongoing support of local projects, Ruya’s focus rests on creating a network of intercultural events by which it can contribute to the development of civil society in Iraq and continue to nurture a multicultural dialogue through the arts. Collaborating internationally, Ruya works with institutions to create meaningful opportunities for Iraqi artists, including residencies and exhibitions.

About Philippe Van Cauteren
Philippe Van Cauteren has been artistic director of S.M.A.K. (Museum for Contemporary Art) in Ghent, Belgium since 2004. Under his guidance the exhibition programme has mainly concentrated on major monographical exhibitions, including Nedko Solakov (2012), Joachim Koester (2012), Maria Nordman (2013), Javier Tellez (2013), Richard Jackson (2014) and Thomas Ruff (2014). At the 55th edition of la Biennale di Venezia, he was co-curator of the Pavilion of Belgium exhibition Kreupelhout – Cripplewood by Berlinde De Bruyckere, who currently has a retrospective in S.M.A.K. Van Cauteren’s particular interest in art in the public sphere was exemplified by the international exhibition TRACK (2012) in Ghent, which was co-curated with Mirjam Varadinis. Before joining S.M.A.K. Van Cauteren worked as a freelance curator and publicist in Germany, Mexico, Chile and Brazil. He was the curator of the first Biennal Ceara America in Fortaleza, Brazil in 2002.

For all press enquiries, contact Rees & Company or S.M.A.K.:
Carrie Rees: carrie [​at​] reesandco.com / T +44 (0) 20 3137 8776 / M +44 (0) 7763 708 346
Eline Verbauwhede: eline [​at​] smak.be / T +32 9 240 76 60 / M +32 479 270 604

 

Ruya Foundation announces Philippe Van Cauteren as curator of the National Pavilion of Iraq for the 56th Venice Biennale
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