E-Issue 07 –– AUH
Winter 2023-24

January 29th, 2024

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in Abu Dhabi/Dubai
  3. Cover Interview: Shaikha Al Ketbi on Darawan
  4. Rapport: Public Art in the Gulf and a Case Study of Manar Abu Dhabi
  5. Hashel Al Lamki’s Survey Exhibition Maqam Reflects on a Decade of Practice in Abu Dhabi
  6. “You Can’t Stand on a Movement”: Michelangelo Pistoletto Interviews Benton Interviewing Pistoletto

Winter/Spring 2024

Curators Interview May 14, 2024
AUH Embracing Change through an Open System: Maya Allison and Duygu Demir on “In Real Time” at NYUAD Art Gallery

About ––

    What We Do
    Editorial Board

Interviews ––

    Selected Archive

Open Call ––

    E-08 Seoul

Newsletter ––

Chronological Archive ––

    Selected Archive

Artist Interview November 18th, 2016
AUH Raed Yassin in Abu Dhabi

Editorial March 1st, 2018
AUH Abu Dhabi Is The New Calabasas

Exhibition Listing May 22nd, 2018
DXB Christopher Benton: If We Don't Reclaim Our History, The Sand Will

Artist Interview June 15th, 2018
TYO An Interview with BIEN, a Rising Japanese Artist

Artist Interview July 17th, 2018
TYO Rintaro Fuse on Selfies and Cave Painting

Artist Interview August 28th, 2018
BER Slavs and Tatars: “Pulling a Thread to Undo The Sweater”

Artist Interview September 1st, 2018
NYC Shirin Neshat In Conversation with Sophie Arni and Ev Zverev

Artist Interview September 1st, 2018
PAR Hottest Spices: Michèle Lamy

E-Issue 01 –– AUH/DXB
Summer 2020

August 1st, 2020

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in the UAE
  3. Pop(Corn): Hashel Al Lamki
  4. Tailoring in Abu Dhabi
  5. Rapport: Dubai
  6. Michael Rakowitz From the Diaspora

Fall/Winter 2020-21

Artist Interview August 23rd, 2020
LHR/MCT Hanan Sultan Rhymes Frankincense with Minimalism

Artist Interview August 24th, 2020
DXB Augustine Paredes Taking Up Space

Artist Interview August 26th, 2020
AUH Sarah Almehairi Initiates Conversations

Market Interview August 28th, 2020
AUH/DXB 101 Pioneers Ethical and Curious Art Collecting

Exhibition September 1st, 2020
DXB Alserkal Arts Foundation Presents Mohamed Melehi

Market Interview September 4th, 2020
DXB Meet Tamila Kochkarova Behind ‘No Boys Allowed’

Artist Interview September 7th, 2020
DXB Taaboogah Infuses Comedy Into Khaleeji Menswear

Artist Interview September 10th, 2020
LHR/CAI Alaa Hindia’s Jewelry Revives Egyptian Nostalgia

Curator Interview September 14th, 2020
UAE Tawahadna Introduces MENA Artists to a Global Community

Exhibition Review September 24th, 2020
MIA a_part Gives Artists 36 Hours to React

Artist Interview September 27th, 2020
AUH BAIT 15 Welcomes New Member Zuhoor Al Sayegh

Market Interview October 14th, 2021
DXB Thaely Kicks Off Sustainable Sneakers

Exhibition Review October 19th, 2020
DXB Do You See Me How I See You?

Exhibition October 22nd, 2020
TYO James Jarvis Presents Latest Collages at 3110NZ

Exhibition Review October 22nd, 2020
AUH Ogamdo: Crossing a Cultural Highway between Korea and the UAE

Book Review October 28th, 2020
DAM Investigating the Catalogues of the National Museum of Damascus

Exhibition Review November 13th, 2020
Kanye Says Listen to the Kids: Youth Takeover at Jameel Arts Centre

Exhibition Review November 16th, 2021
DXB Melehi’s Waves Complicate Waving Goodbye

Exhibition Review November 19th, 2020
DXB Spotlight on Dubai Design Week 2020

Exhibition Review November 21st, 2020
DXB 101 Strikes Again with Second Sale at Alserkal Avenue

Exhibition Review
November 23rd, 2020

AUH SEAF Cohort 7 at Warehouse 421

Exhibition Review December 9th, 2020
SHJ Sharjah Art Foundation Jets Ahead on the Flying Saucer

Curator Interview January 25th, 2021
DXB Sa Tahanan Collective Redefines Home for Filipino Artists

Exhibition Review February 21st, 2021
GRV MIA Anywhere Hosts First Virtual Exhibition of Female Chechen Artists  

🎙️GAD Talk Series –– Season 1 2020

November 1st, 2020
1. What is Global Art Daily? 2015 to Now

November 16th, 2020
2. Where is Global Art Daily? An Open Coversation on Migration as Art Practitioners

November 29th, 2020
3. When the Youth Takes Over: Reflecting on the 2020 Jameel Arts Centre Youth Takeover

December 20th, 2020
4. Young Curators in Tokyo: The Making of The 5th Floor

January 27th, 2021
5. How To Create Digital Networks in The Art World?

E-Issue 02 –– NYC
Spring 2021

February 21st, 2021

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in NYC
  3. Pop(Corn): Zeid Jaouni
  4. You Can Take The Girl Out Of The City
  5. Rapport: NYC
  6. Kindergarten Records Discuss The Future of Electronic Music
  7. Sole DXB Brings NY Hip-Hop To Abu Dhabi
  8. Wei Han Finds ‘Home’ In New York
  9. Vikram Divecha: Encounters and Negotiations

Spring/Summer 2021

Exhibition Review March 3rd, 2021
DXB There’s a Hurricane at the Foundry

Exhibition Review March 7th, 2021
AUH Re-viewing Contrasts: Hyphenated Spaces at Warehouse421

Curator Interview March 21st, 2021
DXB Permeability and Regional Nodes: Sohrab Hura on Curating Growing Like a Tree at Ishara Art Foundation

Exhibition March 28th, 2021
DXB Alserkal Art Week Top Picks

Exhibition Review April 1st, 2021
DXB A ‘Menu Poem’ and All That Follows

Exhibition Review April 5th, 2021
DXB A Riot Towards Landscapes

Exhibition April 16th, 2021
RUH Noor Riyadh Shines Light on Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Art Strategy

Artist Interview April 26th, 2021
CTU/AUH/YYZ Sabrina Zhao: Between Abu Dhabi, Sichuan, and Toronto

Exhibition Review April 27th, 2021
TYO BIEN Opens Two Solo Exhibitions in Island Japan and Parcel

Artist Interview April 28th, 2021
DXB Ana Escobar: Objects Revisited

Exhibition May 9th, 2021
LDN Fulfilment Services Ltd. Questions Techno-Capitalism on Billboards in London

Artist Interview May 11th, 2021
BAH Mihrab: Mysticism, Devotion, and Geo-Identity

Curator Interview May 20th, 2021
DXB There Is A You In The Cloud You Can’t Delete: A Review of “Age of You” at Jameel Arts Centre

Market Interview May 26th, 2021
TYO Startbahn, Japan’s Leading Art Blockchain Company, Builds a New Art Infrastructure for the Digital Age

Exhibition June 11th, 2021
TYO “Mimicry of Hollows” Opens at The 5th Floor

Exhibiton Review June 20th, 2021
AUH “Total Landscaping”at Warehouse 421

Artist Interview June 30th, 2021
OSA Rintaro Fuse Curates “Silent Category” at Creative Center Osaka

Exhibition Review August 9th, 2021
DXB “After The Beep”: A Review and Some Reflections

E-Issue 03 ––TYO
Fall 2021

October 1st, 2022

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in TYO
  3. Pop(Corn): Nimyu
  4. Ahmad The Japanese: Bady Dalloul on Japan and Belonging
  5. Rapport: Tokyo
  6. Alexandre Taalba Redefines Virtuality at The 5th Floor
  7. Imagining Distant Ecologies in Hypersonic Tokyo: A Review of “Floating Between the Tropical and Glacial Zones”
  8. Ruba Al-Sweel Curates “Garden of e-arthly Delights” at SUMAC Space
  9. Salwa Mikdadi Reflects on the Opening of NYU Abu Dhabi’s Arab Center for the Study of Art

Fall/Winter 2021-22

Market Interview October 6th, 2021
RUH HH Prince Fahad Al Saud Discusses Saudi Arabia’s Artistic Renaissance

Exhibition October 7th, 2021
RUH Misk Art Institute’s Annual Flagship Exhibition Explores the Universality of Identity

Curator Interview October 15th, 2021
IST “Once Upon a Time Inconceivable”: A Review and a Conversation

Exhibition Review October 16th, 2021
AUH Woman as a Noun, and a Practice: “As We Gaze Upon Her” at Warehouse421

Exhibition Review February 11th, 2022

Artist Interview February 26th, 2022
TYO Akira Takayama on McDonald’s Radio University, Heterotopia, and Wagner Project

Artist Interview March 10th, 2022
DXB Prepare The Ingredients and Let The Rest Flow: Miramar and Zaid’s “Pure Data” Premieres at Satellite for Quoz Arts Fest 2022

Exhibition March 11th, 2022
DXB Must-See Exhibitions in Dubai - Art Week Edition 2022

Exhibition Review March 14th, 2022
DXB Art Dubai Digital, An Alternative Art World?

E-Issue 04 –– IST
Spring 2022

March 15th, 2022

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in IST
  3. Pop(Corn): Refik Anadol
  4. Rapport: Istanbul
  5. Independent Spaces in Istanbul: Sarp Özer on Operating AVTO

Spring/Summer 2022

Curator Interview March 21st, 2022

Market Interview March 28th, 2022
DXB Dubai's Postmodern Architecture: Constructing the Future with 3dr Models

Exhibition April 23rd, 2022
HK Startbahn Presents “Made in Japan 3.0: Defining a New Phy-gital Reality”, an NFT Pop-Up at K11 Art Mall

Exhibition May 6th, 2022
Istanbul’s 5533 Presents Nazlı Khoshkhabar’s “Around and Round”

Artist Interview May 13th, 2022
“We Are Witnessing History”: Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian On Their Retrospective Exhibition at NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery

Artist Interview June 13th, 2022
DXB “Geometry is Everywhere”: An Interview and Walking Tour of Order of Magnitude, Jitish Kallat’s Solo Exhibition at Dubai’s Ishara Art Foundation

Exhibition June 21st, 2022
DXB Art Jameel Joins The World Weather Network in a Groundbreaking Response to Global Climate Crisis

Exhibition June 27th, 2022
What’s On in the UAE: Our Top Summer Picks

Curator Interview July 9th, 2022
IST Creating an Artist Books Library in Istanbul: Aslı Özdoyuran on BAS

E-Issue 05 –– VCE
Fall 2022

September 5th, 2022

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in VCE
  3. Pop(Corn): UAE National Pavilion
  4. Rapport: Venice
  5. Zeitgeist of our Time: Füsun Onur for the Turkish Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale
  6. GAD’s Top Picks: National Pavilions
  7. Strangers to the Museum Wall: Kehinde Wiley’s Venice Exhibition Speaks of Violence and Portraiture
  8. Questioning Everyday Life: Alluvium by Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian at OGR Torino in Venice

Fall/Winter 2022-23

Market Interview June 28th, 2022
How Pearl Lam Built Her Gallery Between China and Europe

Exhibition November 11th, 2022
“Atami Blues” Brings Together UAE-Based and Japanese Artists in HOTEL ACAO ANNEX

Exhibition December 2nd, 2022
TYO Wetland Lab Proposes Sustainable Cement Alternative in Tokyo

Artist Interview December 9th, 2022
DXB Navjot Altaf Unpacks Eco-Feminism and Post-Pandemic Reality at Ishara Art Foundation

Artist Interview January 8th, 2023
TYO Shu Yonezawa and the Art of Animation

Artist Interview January 19th, 2023
NYC Reflecting on Her Southwestern Chinese Bai Roots, Peishan Huang Captures Human Traces on Objects and Spaces

Exhibition Review February 9th, 2023
DXB Augustine Paredes Builds His Paradise Home at Gulf Photo Plus

Artist Interview February 22nd, 2023
DXB Persia Beheshti Shares Thoughts on Virtual Worlds and the State of Video Art in Dubai Ahead of Her Screening at Bayt Al Mamzar

E-Issue 06 –– DXB/SHJ
Spring 2023

April 12th, 2023

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in the UAE
  3. Pop(Corn): Jumairy
  4. Rapport: Art Dubai 2023
  5. Highlights from Sharjah Biennial 15
  6. Is Time Just an Illusion? A Review of "Notations on Time" at Ishara Art Foundation
  7. Saif Mhaisen and His Community at Bayt AlMamzar

DXB Christopher Joshua Benton to Debut Mubeen, City as Archive at The Third Line Shop in Collaboration with Global Art Daily

🔍 Legal

2015-24 Copyright Global Art Daily. All Rights Reserved.


4. Rapport: Venice

By NiccolòAcram Cappelletto et al.

Published on September 5th, 2022  

       Venice is the only Italian city that was not under the direct control of Muslim rule and yet carried an Arabic name: Al-Bunduqīyya. I learned this fact during my first semester of Arabic of my Bachelor’s degree at New York University Abu Dhabi and I became fascinated by what this entailed for a city I am deeply  familiar with. My own name is the union of an Italian-Greek name, Niccolò (winner of the people), and an Arabic one, Acram (the most/very generous), an interesting choice as I have no Arab relatives and the name stemmed from the pure desire of my parents at my birth. I am starting this E-Issue’s Rapport on Venice with these two anecdotal notes because of the curatorial themes chosen for this edition of the Venice Biennale, the oldest and arguably the most prestigious exhibition of contemporary art of our times.

Venice is the only Italian city that was not under the direct control of Muslim rule and yet carried an Arabic name: Al-Bunduqīyya.

Curated by Cecilia Alemani, Director and Chief Curator of High Line Art in New York, the 59th edition of the International Art Exhibition - Biennale 2022, The Milk of Dreams, deals in an excellent way with issues of self-identity, narratives, and bodily metamorphosis. As a young writer from a small town close to Venice, who ended up studying in the Arab world, precisely in Abu Dhabi, I am experiencing these worlds colliding as never before.

This piece will navigate through the themes of the Biennale and expand it to the current situation in Venice, after two years of a pandemic that drastically reduced its visitors. It is only this summer that Venice went back to its pre-COVID tourist counts and safety protocols, with all the issues related to these changes. Indeed, the municipality of Venice decided that from next year the city will have a cap on visitors per day and anyone wanting to come will need a ticket to book in advance. This decision, along with many other problems of livability in the city, does not make the flashy news as easily as the huge number of exhibition openings, chic events, and contemporary art shows happening throughout the year of the Biennale. However,  they do have an impact on a city's fabric and give food for thought to economic models that have been established for so long and have to be negotiated for the future of the city.

1. Venice, Italy. Photo by the author.

The Milk of Dreams

This year’s Biennale was the first one that I visited so carefully to mark the occasion of this E-Issue. Each visit, each pavilion, each exhibition became an encounter with something new and radical. I say “new” because more than 180 of the participating artists have never had their work in the International Art Exhibition [The Milk of Dreams and the National Participations] until now and “radical” thanks to the contribution of artists that are a majority of women and gender non-conforming artists. This choice “reflects an international art scene full of creative ferment and a deliberate rethinking of men’s centrality in the history of art and contemporary culture” (Alemani, 2022). These two core points of the exhibition made me reflect on the meaning of curating a platform such as the Biennale in 2022. The title is taken from Surrealist artist, Leonora Carrigton (1917-2011), who worked on a children's book in the 1950s and was published only posthumously. The Milk of Dreams is a work of imagination, “a world where everyone can change” (Alemani, 2022). For the curator, it helped center the exhibition on change, transformation, and metamorphosis in light of current events, climate change, indigeneity, and many other issues represented by the contemporary artists chosen to exhibit.

Among the highlights of the exhibition are Paula Rego’s and Cecilia Vicuña’s paintings, Simone Leigh’s monumental busts, Ali Cherri’s installations in multiple media, Monira Al Qadiri’s sculpture and videos, and many many other stunning artworks. I here want to give one example that I believe is most representative of the relevance of The Milk of Dreams. In one of the sections, The Witch’s Cradle, the artworks on display gives a new image of the modernist movements of the first half of the 20th century. By showcasing in the same space artists such as Josephine Baker, Baya Mahieddine, Meret Oppenheim, Rosa Rosà, Remedios Varo, Dorothea Tanning, and Augusta Savage, among others, not only does the impression leaves us with a recodified canon of modern art history but also an alternative to imagine new art worlds that may or may not have met in the same constellation. If the quality of contemporary art is to be global, this section demonstrates how global visions of the past bring to the surface issues that do not only constitute frustrations and injustices of the present but are legacies of long-standing power structures at the expense of marginalized narratives.

2. Installation view, The Milk of Dreams at the Giardini and Arsenale. Photo by the author. 

If the quality of contemporary art is to be global, [The Witch’s Cradle] demonstrates how global visions of the past bring to the surface issues that do not only constitute frustrations and injustices of the present but are legacies of long-standing power structures at the expense of marginalized narratives.

Surrounding the exhibition that develops between the Giardini and the Arsenale, the national pavilions expand the conversation of the Biennale. This year’s pavilions respected the theme carefully and you can find some of them in our GAD’s Top Picks. However, I must admit that the thematic coherence among the pavilions made me question the nation-based model of the Biennale.

The Venice Biennale originated in 1895 when Europe was developing its imperialist nation-states at the expense of its colonies in the rest of the world. This year's edition shows how contemporary art can be, when successful, a vehicle for social issues and solidarity. Hence a question: is the national model still useful for the Biennale? If on one side, national participations can highlight marginalized discourses in an international arena, such as the Sami Pavilion or the Ghana Pavilion, on the other it keeps reinforcing power structures in a difficult binary such as the West vs the Rest, considering the majority of European and rich countries exhibiting in the historical area of Giardini. Maybe The Milk of Dreams with its unhinging of art historical paradigms represents a step towards a new vision for the mother of all Biennales.

3. Installation views, The Milk of Dreams at the Giardini and Arsenale. Photo by the author.

A City Torn by Overtourism and Contemporary Art

Overtourism represents one of the main problems of the city. The incredible density of contemporary art events in Venice at the moment, from Anish Kapoor’s exhibition at the Gallerie dell’Accademia or Anselm Kiefer at Palazzo Ducale, brings intense streams of people. In a city that struggles with overwhelming tourism, how does an accumulation of events of this kind benefit the local community, or what is left of it? Venice is emptying with most locals moving to the mainland. A possible solution found by the municipality is to close the city and have a limited number of people visiting in order to restrict tourists coming only for day trips and encourage longer stay periods. The reality is that the city offers a minimum amount of services since most of the businesses are catered to tourists, such as souvenir shops. The measure of closing the city will accomplish the ongoing “disneyfication” of Venice: its evolution into an outdoor amusement park, or outdoor museum at best. Criticism of the initiative has been increasing among the few residents in the city but the problem of mass tourism is not getting smaller. In the world of The Milk of Dreams, imagination plays an important role to think of alternatives to the patriarchal society. Can contemporary art institutions contribute also to the reimagination of a city whose destiny is doomed?

In the world of The Milk of Dreams, imagination plays an important role to think of alternatives to the patriarchal society. Can contemporary art institutions contribute also to the reimagination of a city whose destiny is doomed?

As someone who lived in the vicinity of Venice for most of his life, I experienced the worsening of the tourist situation with local shops shutting down and tourists leaving behind garbage anywhere, swimming in the (unsanitary) canals, or trying to bring their bicycles into the city. Venice was recently on the cusp of obtaining the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site In Danger due to overtourism. In particular the passing of cruise ships throughout the city was threatening the lagoon ecosystem and the buildings’ stability. Looking ahead to the future, how can global events such as the Biennale bring attention to the local environmental impact? While there are art and research spaces dealing with these issues, such as the platform Ocean Space, bringing action remains limited as the dialogue among stakeholders is difficult to achieve, as tourism constitutes one of the city’s principal sources of income. Yet, to dismantle the same system that The Milk of Dreams denounces, Venice must play the exemplary role of being the sustainable space for dialogue and connections that has characterized it since its foundation.

4. Awareness campaign by We Are Here Venice, 2022. Photo by the author.

Choral Contributions

This Rapport could not be the work of just one writer’s perspective, considering the reach of such an event as the Biennale. Hence, I asked a few of my peers to leave their opinions on how they experienced the city and its events.

Christopher Benton, artist

📍Abu Dhabi - Boston

NiccolòAcram Cappelletto: The exhibition was first presented at last year’s edition of Abu Dhabi Art and it was reiterated in Venice. Did you change anything from the Abu Dhabi version?

Christopher Benton: There were many changes, refinements, and additions to the original presentation of the show in Venice. Most obviously, the rules of presenting a show in a purpose-built white cube is different from showing work in a 14th century Palazzo in Italy. While I wasn’t able to rig and present a palm tree in such a space, I was excited to be able to relay a powerful message about diasporas, and cultural production, and commodity circulation.

N.A.: How did you feel about exhibiting in Venice? Did you feel a new response to your work?

C.B.: Presenting in Venice was a dream and I thoroughly thank fair director Dyala Nusseibeh and the hard-working Abu Dhabi Art team for creating an international platform for UAE-based artists. In general, my work is site-specific, so the context of what and how the work presents itself is crucial. This complicates the question of remounting: how do we keep the story intact? How can we respond to presenting in a new place? And perhaps most importantly: who is the audience and what do they already know or think they know? In this way, I made adjustments to the exhibition to support an international audience who may not have the same level of regional knowledge, or have the same connection to our local narratives.

N.A.: About the Biennale Exhibition: What did you think of this year’s edition (also compared to past editions, if you have been/remember)? Anything that particularly struck you?

C.B: The headline for this year’s Venice Biennial is that the main exhibition features 90% female artists. While some may see this as a concession to our overly identitarian era, this authorial shift has made a show that is more sensitive, emphatic, contemporary, and emotive. From the spectacular to the most intimate of gestures, the exhibition is one of the best Venice Biennale showings  in recent memory, with a strong conceptual framework that ties it all together. The Guggenheim’s new surrealism show also complements the biennial well.

N.A.: Favorite pavilion?

C.B: I loved the French Pavilion, which featured the work of Zineb Sedira. It was commissioned by Till & Sam [Till Fellrath and Sam Bardaouil], who also curated Hashel [Al Lamki], Maitha [Abdalla], and I for the latest edition of Abu Dhabi Art’s Beyond Emerging Program. The show really expanded my idea of what an exhibition could do. I also appreciated Zineb’s commitment to meta-reference, mise-en-abyme and mise-en-scène.

5. Installation view of Christopher Benton’s work at Abu Dhabi Art: Emerging Artists 2021 group exhibition in Venice, Palazzo Franchetti. April 20 - May 22, 2022. Image courtesy of the artist.

Samuel Cimma, photographer

📍 Venice

Sometimes an installation strikes you immediately but then they leave little in your memory. This was not the case for the Dutch Pavilion at the 2022 Venice Art Biennale entitled When the body says Yes by artist Melanie Bonajo. After going through the door of the old Chiesetta della Misericordia, the visitor enters in a soft world, as in a maternal womb made of soft lights, colored cushions, drapes hanging down the ceiling beams. Lying on the ground, you feel welcomed while the Dutch artist’s documentary is projected. The video contains recordings of collective skinships and individual personal experiences. Everything pertains to the relationship between oneself, one’s body, someone else’s body and the social body, a macro-theme within which we all have an experience more or less aware. Thus, I believe that the strength of this piece relies on its own universality that allows anyone to find a different opening into each one of us. In my case, because it is about one’s self that is talked about in front of such a work, I was struck by a single frame, which says: If this body gives you so much pleasure, why do you hate it? – this struck a bare nerve of mine, the nerve of non-acceptance of my body, that I cannot fit into the grids of social beauty standards. Yet, this single sentence triggered a spark in me: my body gives me pleasure, cuddles me, makes me enjoy, so why do I hate it, why do I always wish to have another one? Today I feel better, I no longer feel discomfort in looking at myself, and above all I don’t feel ashamed in standing in front of other people without a shirt. I accept my body, and I have also come to appreciate it, something that the myself of one year ago could not even imagine taking into consideration. My path will still be long, but thanks to Melanie Bonajo I made a big leap forward, and I don’t feel alone.   

6. Melanie Bonajo, When the body says Yes,  at the Pavilion of the Netherlands, 2022. Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia.

Insun Woo, editor

📍 Istanbul / Abu Dhabi

As the latest addition to the Giardini’s permanent national pavilions, the Korean Pavilion, established in 1995, is relatively small in size. For this year’s Biennale, however, transdisciplinary artist and electronic music composer Yunchul Kim created a system that defies the Pavilion’s spatial boundaries, opening up an interconnected world that kindles awe and imagination. Though the exhibition title, Gyre, is intended as a “metaphor for the current swirling state of confusion the world is in as we wait for change to come,” the experience of the show is far from unsettling. As I traversed the naturally-lit space inhabited by bizarre yet spectacular structures, I was filled with wonder. The centerpiece, Chroma V (2022), hangs from the ceiling and is an imposing fifty-meter-long structure coiled into a knot. The colors of the opalescent cells swell and subside as the cells pulsate at irregular intervals. This movement is caused by another installation in the exhibition: Argos – The Swollen Suns (2022). Similarly impressive in its scale and technological feat, Argos detects muons –cosmic nanoparticles created when colliding with the Earth’s atmosphere– and sends signals to other installations in the exhibition to trigger their movements. Looking at Argos, it becomes clear how the pavilion has been conceived as a “sprawling body”; the works, like organs in a body, are connected with one another and the surrounding environment, as they receive and react to signals as small as muons and as big as the ocean (Impulse (2018), one of the installations, circulates seawater from Venice). At a time when technology is being discussed as a powerful collaborator in creating enhanced systems or as a threat to humanity, it was refreshing to see machines freed from such responsibilities and fears to just exist as beings, in tune with the “natural” environment. It is the beauty and poetry of such redefining of the relationship between the human, non-human, machine, and material happening in Gyre that made it stand out amongst the many impressive exhibitions at the Giardini.

7. Installation view, Gyre, by Yunchul Kim. The Korean Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale, 23.04 - 27.11 2022. Photo by Insun Woo.

NiccolòAcram Cappelletto is an Editor at Global Art Daily. After completing his B.A. in Art History with specialisations in Political Science and Heritage Studies at NYU Abu Dhabi, he was conducting research on the connections between heritage and contemporary art in the context of postcolonial Italy as a Postgraduate Research Fellow at NYU Abu Dhabi, based in Treviso and Abu Dhabi. Niccolò previously worked as a gallery and curatorial assistant with galleries in Venice, Paris, and Abu Dhabi. Interested in decolonial and demodernising practices, he believes in the need to translate into an accessible practice the heavy theoretical frameworks of the present.

Many thanks to the guest contributors to this Rapport.