March 18, 2011 - United Arab Emirates Pavilion at the Venice Biennale - At the 54th Venice Biennale
March 18, 2011

At the 54th Venice Biennale

At The Venice Biennale
54th International Art Exhibition

June 1–3, 2011

Opening Press Conference:

Public Dates:
June 4–November 27,

Building on its 2009 debut, the United Arab Emirates is emerging as an important contributor to the world of contemporary art, and shall welcome visitors from June 4 through November 27, 2011, to the nation’s official contribution to the 54th International Art Exhibition – the Venice Biennale.

The UAE Pavilion has been initiated and supported by His Excellency Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Owais, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, the Emirates Foundation for Philanthropy and the Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC). The UAE Pavilion is being 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. Serving as curator for the UAE Pavilion for 2011 is Vasıf Kortun, an internationally respected curator and Director of Research and Programs, SALT, Istanbul.

The title of the exhibition for this year’s UAE Pavilion is “Second Time Around / للمرة الثانية”. It refers to the UAE’s debut appearance at the biennial in 2009. A newcomer to the Venice Biennale, the UAE Pavilion found itself in a position of answering demands and curiosities to which it addressed brilliantly with its cheerful self-criticality and artistic strength. The second Pavilion is in turn a sign of slowly coming of age. The title “Second Time Around” is in fact purposefully modest and refers to the barebones of the exhibition. The same attitude adopted while choosing the title is echoed in the approach to the exhibition.

Kortun elaborated, “The nascent art scene developing throughout the UAE and the effects of a vertical urbanization that every citizen has to answer day in and day out constituted the rapid transformation of the nation. Likewise, the UAE artists were early on called upon to perform the role of chroniclers and represent the burdens of this sea change but are now negotiating and processing the complexities of what is becoming a predominantly visual culture”.

“No longer contextualized in what have become the absolute clichés of the international reception of the UAE, the UAE Pavilion for 2011 does not aim to treat the exhibition as curatorial conceit; but rather chooses to realize the theoretical foundation in the immanence of the works in the exhibition,” Kortun notes. “The Pavilion will not be ‘curated’ around concepts but around artistic positions, as if three independent projects form a coherent exhibition structure pivoting around the works of three artists, Reem Al Ghaith, Abdullah Al Saadi and Lateefa bint Maktoum.” Second Time Around”, gently underscores the individuated sophistication of artists from the UAE the three of whom are in the Biennial.

The architecture firm Superpool has been selected to create the scenography of the UAE Pavilion exhibition. Superpool has recently completed Mapping Istanbul, a book commissioned by Garanti Gallery with nearly a hundred maps and information graphics.

Mobius Design Studio, which was founded in 2010 by a group of female designers from different parts of the Middle East, will create the graphic elements of the exhibition.

Sponsorship and Support

The UAE Pavilion at the Venice Biennale is initiated by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development, and is sponsored by the Emirates Foundation for Philanthropy and The Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC).

Location and Public Hours

The UAE Pavilion is located in the Arsenale-Artiglierie.
Saturday, June 4 through Sunday, November 27, 2011
10 am–6 pm
The Arsenale is closed on Tuesdays (excluding Tuesday, June 7 and November 22).

For additional information, please visit or contact

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Press Contact
Rosie Stubbs
+971 (0) 4 401 9348

United Arab Emirates Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
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