National Pavilion UAE - “We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest” | Review of Walking on Water by Mariam Al Mazroui
  • “We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest” | Review of Walking on Water by Mariam Al Mazroui


    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 2_LOWRES

    I believe that having one artist and one artwork does not impact in terms of if you have pavilions that have curated more than one artist in their space. I am very convinced having a strong message and relating the work to the pavilion is more important and I think the UAE Pavilion accomplished that with Mohammed Kazem’s Installation.

    After visiting the other pavilions I think what struck me the most was the Argentinean Pavilion, which is located exactly underneath the UAE’s space. In terms of technology and using state of the art video installations I must truly say I am absolutely impressed by the level of technology that has been used to create such an interesting space. Much similar to the size of the UAE’s installation, the extreme high definition and the scale being used had me wondering  ‘ can we have pushed for a more dramatic approach using a higher definition for Mohammed Kazem’s installation ‘? Never the less its quite interesting and intriguing how visitors relate the Escalator outside leading to the UAE Pavilion as well as the South African Pavilion assuming that it is a piece of art as part of the UAE Pavilion.

    I feel extremely proud to be representing the UAE pavilion and I believe the level of sophistication in terms of technology for a contemporary artist, Kazem has truly accomplished a great show. For Emirati’s perhaps it’s a way to share the importance and historic aspect of the sea as the main source of life, food and trade.

    I would think Mohammed Kazem wanted to communicate more than one message. I think creating a high tech installation using visual elements as well as sound really puts the viewer in an interesting position; a 3 dimensional and virtual approach gives a more real life feeling. I think the artist wanted to show a sense of sophistication as well in both concept and execution.  An interesting thought occurred to me that Venice is surrounded by water much like the UAE that perhaps could relate to many of those who might have had experiences in the waters of Venice.

    Mohammed Kazem being lost at sea and wondering whether he will stay alive or die is an experience on its own. For me, at first when entering the space I felt very calm and the sound of water gave me a sense of a relaxed feeling. Within seconds I felt seasick like I was trapped and needed to get out immediately. Not all will interpret and experience the same feeling however I think Kazem left a chance for the viewers to understand what he was trying to convey, forcing them to be put in a position much like he was in; in the middle of nowhere with an infinite visual elements to show no boundaries. As Aristotle Onassis once said ‘we must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds’.

    For the UAE I think it’s a big accomplishment being a part of a very important world class Biennale. For me living in Venice is an experience in itself and the UAE Pavilion complements the city perfectly.

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