National Pavilion UAE - It remains untouched | by Maria Bagnara
  • It remains untouched | by Maria Bagnara


    First of all I would like to specify that until now I can’t define my feelings, my personal impressions, my deep sensations about the most emblematic project that the artist, Mohammed Kazem, is showing at the UAE National Pavilion for the 55th art exhibition in the Venice Biennale.

    Actually my feeling are growing; new ones created and my inspiration exploding every day as I interact with the work.

    My first approach with Walking on Water exhibition, was very simple and immediate. I entered the dome and stood in front of the geographical positioning system coordinates and I just saw the sea all around me and immediately felt serenity and calmness. The natural feeling you feel when you feel and look at the sea.

    The next day, I entered again in the dome and discovered the power that the artwork had on me . I admit  I was very lucky because I had the opportunity to stand inside the dome alone, as the pavilion at that moment was still closed to visitors, an opportunity that I will never forget and that most of the visitors unfortunately will never have.

    I stood next to the GPS coordinates watching the movement of the sea and listening to the sound of the waves and minutes later I felt it all;  all my feelings and all my perceptions about the sea and water were definitely real; in fact I was fluctuating-walking on water and I just let myself be carried away by water. I was standing in a maquette of the real sea, in front of the 360 degrees projection but it felt real! I was trying to walk on water. I couldn’t help but question: What is real? Is it a fact that I’m here standing in front of the projection real? and does that make my feelings real? or is it totally the opposite.

    From that moment I understood what the Artist Mohammed Kazem was trying to communicate with his work. Indeed he was trying to challenge the limits and make the impossible possible. He was giving us the opportunity to travel and cross borders that are in fact totally unreal; they don’t exist in nature but continue to limit our cultural and social exchange.

    The idea of Kazem is that at least we can always move from a point to another but in a conceptual way. His work Directions ( Walking on Chemnitz River), where the artist crossed a river by using coordinates sketched on some leaves, helped me a lot to understand more the meaning behind his last project. His purpose to challenge all limits is certainly clear. This can also be seen in the series Scratches where he is trying to capture the intangible and make it tangible on  paper.

    Another concept that I personally found very interesting and powerful is the concept of the sea and of the water in general. Day by day I could see how people are living with water and the sea, and find us all similar in our reactions.  It doesn’t matter which nationality you are from, and which cultural background.  Between us there are definitely no borders.

    indeed the concept of the sea remind us always of tranquility and personally it is always related to the sense of eternity. In fact the sea even if it’s always flowing and even if you will never fill a glass with the same water, is something that you will always find in the same place that you expect to find it. When all around you is changing, growing up and developing very quickly, the sea is the only thing that will always remain unchanged. It will give you peace, it will stabilize you. While everything surroundings us is changing and evolving, the sea is still there untouched.

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