Second Time Around
The 54th International Art Exhibition
Curated by Vasif Kortun and commissioned by Dr. Lamees Hamdan for Biennale Arte 2011, Second Time Around featured three Emirati artists: Reem Al Ghaith, Abdullah Al Saadi and Sheikha Lateefa bint Maktoum who presented individual concepts set in same-size spaces that are actually islands on their own.
The title refers to the UAE’s debut appearance at the Biennale in 2009. A newcomer to the La Biennale di Venezia, the National Pavilion United Arab Emirates (UAE) found itself in a position of answering extensive and curious demands, which it addressed with a humorous self-criticality. The second Pavilion was, in turn, a sign of slowly coming of age. Purposefully modest, Second Time Around referred to the barebones of the exhibition. The attitude adopted in choosing the title was also echoed in the approach to the exhibition, where each artist’s work was presented in a dedicated setting.
Second Time Around presented the work of three artists: One an incorrigible 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 (Abdullah Al Saadi), the second a very young artist whose installation practice speaks to the UAE in the most novel way probable (Reem Al Ghaith), and third an artist who has assimilated, and deconstructed the transformation of her environs (Sheikha Lateefa bint Maktoum). The Emirati artists selected by Kortun represented the UAE through displays of an installation, mixed-media sculpture, and photography.
The accompanying publication, Second Time Around was edited by Vasif Kortun and discusses the rise of the UAE art scene through the presentation of the three artists.
The 54th International Art Exhibition, titled ILLUMInations, curated by Bice Curiger, was open to the public from 4 June – 27 November 2011.