Alive in the Universe

Posted by Mohammed Yahia

This is a guest post by Sarah Hiddleston 

Nature Middle East has an exciting contribution to the grande dame of art events –The Venice Biennale. For more than 120 years the Biennale has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to the floating city, whose sweeping squares, crumbling palazzos and beautiful churches play host to the world’s foremost cutting-edge creative minds. Now in its 58th iteration, it takes as its theme May you live in interesting times and promises to be a showcase of what its artistic director Ralph Rugoff describes as “art’s potential for looking into things that we do not already know”.

Nature Middle East’s film-short charts the contribution of Syrian artist Issam Kourbaj as he examines the nature of reality, life, death, migration and the passage of time. Together with the British poet Ruth Padel, Kourbaj will open a 28-day exhibition entitled Alive in the Universe with a three-piece performance installation at the Palazzo Pesaro Papafava on May 8. The film, shot last year in Kourbaj’s studio in Cambridge, will be shown alongside the installation.

Alive in the Universe is a creative take on the wonder and anguish of existence including some of the most perplexing questions in science. Masterminded by co-curators Caroline Wiseman and David Baldry, it was inspired by Albert Einstein’s dictum that “art is the expression of the profoundest thoughts in the simplest way”. The exhibition seeks to challenge and deepen our understanding of life and death, gender and procreation, the cosmos, water, dark matter, technology and time among others.

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