National Pavilion UAE - Let Yourself Completely Evolve by.. Walking on Water | Review by Gabriella Quagliato
  • Let Yourself Completely Evolve by.. Walking on Water | Review by Gabriella Quagliato

    Mohammed Kazem Directions 2005-2013 (2005-2013). Color video installation with sound 2 min loop overall dimensions variable Courtesy of the National Pavilion of the UAE_Installation Image 3_LOW RES

    Before visiting the National UAE Pavilion I knew what it was about and the information about the artist, but I really didn’t imagine how it would be like. The first time I saw it I thought: “Wow, such an original artwork!”. I think it has been created ‘to leave people without words’ (as we say in Italian). It’ s such incredible to note how much an art creation could involve and move a human being.  By being part of this Internship, I can observe a lot of the guests’ reactions, as me, going out from the Pavilion with surprised expressions. Sometimes somebody feels physically unbalanced and says amused: “I felt sea-sick inside!”; somebody else asks us, seriously disoriented, if the floor also was moving?

    I think that ‘Walking on water’ is an example of how technology can be used to express, in this installation,  replicating Kazem’s experience at sea. We know “the Direction series” has been inspired by the artist’s accident in the sea. During one of his fishing trips, he fell only to be found after half an hour. Fishermen use the GPS to remember the location of the nets that they cast. So Kazem had the inspiration of including this aspect in his project.. That rational, perfect, central and symbolic role in his creation: it gives the artist the necessary courage to explore the unknown and the dreaded infinity of the sea. This may metaphorically represent an incitement to overcome the barriers lying among human beings.

    From some points of  view  ‘Directions 2005’ is an oxymoron: it’s both sense of unbalance, disorientation, uncertainty and both definite position, certainty, trust.

    The artist aims to immerse completely the viewer in the reality of the artwork through his senses: he sees, he hears, he touches. When the visitor goes beyond the wall which hides the circular room housing the 360° video projection of the sea, he immediately finds himself on a prow of a boat. The night around him is going to finish and the sky starts to become clear. But above all his attention focuses on the motion of the water and so he needs to stay in balance holding the rail. Floating, the viewer even hears his/her own voice echoes symbolizing emptiness. The sound of the waves completes this experience.

    On the floor, are the  illuminated interchangeable GPS coordinates in the center locating his/her position . It becomes the only reliable point of reference.

    Considering the wide panorama of art creations exhibited in le Biennale, ‘Walking on the Water’ is a singular example of how strong art can be one expressing global issues.

    Unlike other Pavilions, I think that the choice of exhibiting one artist and one artwork has allowed the UAE Pavilion to create a strong everlasting impression on the visitors.

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