National Pavilion UAE - Review of Museums and Arab participations in the Venice Biennale | By Ahmad Al Areef
  • Review of Museums and Arab participations in the Venice Biennale | By Ahmad Al Areef

    To many people art is anything unfamiliar, unconditional and meaningless and in some manner symbolic. However, art to me haves a lot of meanings and can come in many states or forms. Since I have been visiting museums and art fairs during the biennale period I have realized some framework have been created in the renaissance period and still be used in contemporary notions nowadays. The Italian renaissance that was booming at the beginning of the 14th century from its birth at central Italy (Tuscany) and then other cities got influenced by it like Florence, Siena and finally Venice can be felt by just walking around the city with all the monuments and the architecture the city speaks. The biennale was obviously a huge sugar rush the city has been going through for the past century every two years. Contemporary artwork left for the city became part of the city and the city became what is considered as a long-term loan of the artwork. The discuss contemporary or in other words modern art is likely to be changing by the time we speak, as we witness nowadays at the biennale evolving art and can never be related to what museums held from the medieval era of classicalism in art.

    Peggy Guggenheim collection is one of Venice’s hotspots, if you go to the museum most of the showcased work has be imported from elsewhere. The variety of the collection was unconditionally extra-ordinary and the amount of knowledge and inspiration all gathered in one spot truly made it worth the visit. Those kinds of museums are likely to be contemporary museums I can say, thus the classic artwork it held. It was a very good exercise to visit Peggy Guggenheim’s collection museum, as we will be hosting one of the future projects Abu Dhabi government held with Guggenheim foundation, Abu Dhabi Guggenheim Museum in the near future.

    The first art piece you see when you first enter the museum is Alexander Calder’s (arc of petals) a two dimensional form of aluminum artwork. Ironically, my first ever witness of Calder’s work was at our beloved capital of Abu Dhabi, it was showcased at birth of a museum Abu Dhabi Louvre collection. It is interesting the destination became so close where international artwork is just a five minutes ride from my doorstep. It raises a question in me. Will I be interested and thrilled once I get to see the future projects done and visited all the galleries? I guess I can find out the answer unless the experience speaks its steps and take its toll on me.

    I can  think about the national pavilion of the United Arab Emirates and the work of Mohammad Khazem but I can honestly think of nothing more when it comes to Arabic countries. During my working hours I have seen a lot of surprising responds from visitors, which made me question other artwork presented in the biennale by Arab countries. Bahrain for instance had a weak approach this year as I have frequently visited their pavilion and tried to correlate it with other Arab countries but the trace of belonging and culture representation it had failed to impress me as an individual. Although the Lebanese pavilion had a totally different approach in which it was depicting an Israeli soldier that refused to bomb a school have more impact to represent the current feel of the contemporary contradiction it is going through. There is no doubt every country would set participating in such a prominent event in the art industry on different standards, what I felt some countries considered the opportunity and some did not.

  • Pin It