Tue, Jan 18, 2022

Art & Auctions
'Between Sunrise and Sunset' for Venice Biennale

The National Pavilion UAE has announces its upcoming exhibition at the Biennale Arte 2022 (Venice Biennale) titled Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim: Between Sunrise and Sunset.

The exhibition will present a new body of work created for the National Pavilion UAE by Emirati artist Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, a veteran of the experimental art community in the UAE.

Curated by Maya Allison, Executive Director of The New York University Abu Dhabi Art Gallery, Between Sunrise and Sunset is an installation of human-sized, abstract and organic sculptural forms. The work draws from Ibrahim’s deep connection to the local environment of his hometown, Khor Fakkan – a city harbouring the rocky Al Hajar mountains on the east coast of the Emirate of Sharjah in the UAE.

This exhibition marks the National Pavilion UAE’s seventh participation at the Biennale Arte, along with its move towards an artist-led approach whereby Ibrahim nominated Allison to curate the exhibition. The 59th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2022 (Biennale Arte 2022) will open to the public between April 23 and November 27.

The 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia is curated by New York based Italian curator and artistic director Cecilia Alemani under the theme The Milk of Dreams, which questions the representation of bodies and their metamorphoses, and the connection between bodies and earth.

In resonance with this theme, Ibrahim’s biomorphic sculptures cluster in undulating colour and movement – suggesting bodies, mutation, and metamorphosis. These forms arrive from his physical dialogue with the materials of the work: accretions of papier-mâché are built up over loose skeleton structures that shift and settle into their final position as he works. Often incorporating actual earth, leaves, tea, coffee, and tobacco, the texture of the forms derives from his raw materials.

Ibrahim said: “Between Sunrise and Sunset highlights the connection I have with the nature of Khor Fakkan - my hometown and the place I continue to live in. The exhibition demonstrates the tension between Khor Fakkan’s colorful bright mornings, when the sun rises over the ocean, and the disappearance of colours in mid-afternoon, when the sun drops behind the mountains that loom over my hometown. We can never see the sunset in Khor Fakkan, but we can imagine it on the other side of the UAE. I am looking forward to showing my new installation, working alongside Maya Allison and the National Pavilion UAE, to represent my country in our upcoming presentation at the Venice Biennale in 2022.”

Allison said: “Over the years, I have closely observed Ibrahim’s work process and its intense and intimate relationship with each environment he encounters, whether that be the rocky mountainous landscape of his lifelong home, or the landscapes of his residencies in Holland, France, India, and beyond. Even after almost 4 decades of art-making, the artist continues to evolve and deepen his practice, with a stubbornly persistent exuberance, nourished by his connection to his work and his artist community. For many years he worked against the odds of location and access, and I’m gratified to see the exposure and recognition of this artist by the wider art world. This is a watershed moment for the work of the institutions that are supporting this project.”

Laila Binbrek, Coordinating Director, National Pavilion UAE – La Biennale di Venezia, said: “Between Sunrise and Sunset will present important new sculptural forms by Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, who has been one of the influential members of the UAE’s long-standing avant-garde community since the early 1980s. Ibrahim confronts his imagination to encompass his deep connection to the UAE’s natural environment. Through this exhibition the National Pavilion UAE highlights a member of the UAE’s extraordinary community of well-established artists as we continue our commitment to reveal the untold stories of the UAE.”

The National Pavilion UAE is commissioned by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation and supported by the Ministry of Culture and Youth, with a permanent pavilion at the Venice Biennale’s Arsenale – Sale d’Armi.

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