The National Pavilion of the United Arab Emirates at the 55th Venice Biennale


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October 20, 2012
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United Arab Emirates Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

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Mohammed Kazem
1 June–24 November 2013

Arsenale, Venice, Italy

www.uaepavilion.org

Mohammed Kazem, "Directions," 2005. Video installation,
engraved acrylic panels, LED light, leaves, video, variable
dimensions. Courtesy of the artist.
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The National Pavilion of the United Arab Emirates announces Mohammed Kazem as featured artist and Reem Fadda as curator for the 55th International Art Exhibition–La Biennale di Venezia.

Mohammed Kazem is a leading conceptual artist in the UAE contemporary art scene and is known for his incorporation of new media and his sophisticated formalist language. His interest in conceptual art and progressive attitude towards form and context is especially highlighted by his ongoing series "Directions." Kazem first studied Fine Arts at the Emirates Fine Art Society and subsequently studied music at the Al Rayat Music Institute of Dubai and painting at the Edinburgh College of Art. He was a Painting Instructor at the Dubai Art Atelier for ten years. Widely known through numerous solo and group exhibitions in the UAE and abroad, Kazem's participation includes the Havana Biennial (2000), Singapore Biennale (2006), Dhaka Biennial–Bangladesh (2002), and the Sharjah Biennale (1993–2007). Most recently he exhibited at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia (2010); and at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2012). His works have been collected by private collectors and institutions such as Deutsche Bank as well as museums in Doha, Sharjah, JP Morgan Chase Bank (USA), and Sittard (Holland).

From her curatorial concept, Fadda stated; "Mohammed Kazem, a pioneering contemporary artist and thinker from the UAE, represents a generation that emerged from an avant-garde legacy of arts and artists in the UAE and the surrounding region, one that has thrived since the mid-'70s with advocates such as his mentor artist Hassan Sharif. The curatorial research for our pavilions presentation in Venice will see Kazem as the key individual artist and thinker he is and highlight his contribution to the local artistic heritage."

"By engaging the work of Kazem, we can witness the urban modernity of an emerging nation through the eyes of its individual artists. In pursuing this initiative we hope to demonstrate that the developments we see in the region today do not come from a void, but rather evolve from the contemporary thought and practice of artists and intellectuals like Kazem, whose work has consistently interrogated the relationship between the individual and his/her social, urban, and natural environments. In this sense, it manifests as a living artistic synthesis of a critical debate over the modernity and the global reality of the citizen and nation-state," elaborated Fadda.

Reem Fadda is currently working as Associate Curator of Middle Eastern Art–Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Project at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. She is also a PhD candidate at the History of Art and Visual Studies Department at Cornell University. Previously, Fadda was Director of the Palestinian Association for Contemporary Art (PACA) and worked as Academic Director at the International Academy of Art – Palestine, which she helped found in 2006. She curated many projects such as Liminal Spaces featured at PACA, Digital Art lab Holon and Galerie Leipzig; Ramallah Syndrome with Decolonizing Architecture at the 53rd Venice Biennale, Tarjama/Translation at the Queens Museum & Herbert E. Johnson Museum in New York and the 3rd RIWAQ Biennale, which she co-curated with Charles Esche in Ramallah.

The National Pavilion of the United Arab Emirates is initiated and supported by His Excellency Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development. The National Pavilion of the UAE continues to be developed and presented under the leadership of its Commissioner, Dr. Lamees Hamdan, a leader in the art and culture scene in the UAE and member of the Board of Directors of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority.

The Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation is generously supporting the Pavilion for the first time. The Foundation works to contribute to the creation of positive futures for the citizens of the United Arab Emirates and the full realization of their potential and aspirations. It develops and supports charitable initiatives in the areas of education, arts, culture and heritage, and the environment.


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