Five Artists Announced for ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play’ at the 2017 Venice Biennale

Hammad Nasar

Titled ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play’ and curated by Hammad Nasar, a curator and writer, and most recently served as Head of Research and Programmes at Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong (2012-2016), this exhibition will explore a strand of artistic practice in the UAE through the analogy of play. Featuring existing works, re-fabrication of “lost” works and new commissions, the exhibition will stage a set of nested questions: where does “playfulness” in artistic practice come from? How and where is “play” nurtured? What does “play” do?


The exhibition will present works by five artists who are nationals and long-term residents who call the UAE home: Nujoom Alghanem, Sara Al Haddad, Vikram Divecha, Lantian Xie and Dr. Mohamed Yousif.


The accompanying publication will serve both as an additional site of the exhibition, and as its speculative expansion, with newly commissioned texts by contributors including: Aisha Bilkhair; Uzma Rizvi; and Murtaza Vali; with further contributors to be announced shortly. Artists, architects and creative writers have also been invited to intervene, and respond to the themes of the exhibition, with new commissions by: Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh & Hesam Rahmanian; Deepak Unikrishnan; and, WTD magazine.

Series of Programs

In line with the curatorial premise, several cultural institutions across the UAE have been invited to act as interlocutors in exploring the themes of the exhibition. Some of the confirmed institutions include Sharjah Art Foundation, The Art Gallery at NYU Abu Dhabi, Alserkal Programming, Tashkeel, Maraya Art Centre and Warehouse421. By developing these themes in ways they deem relevant, this will serve to extend, expand, critique, reflect and respond to the myriad issues that the exhibition may catalyze. More information on the institutions’ programs will be announced soon; you can also follow the story using the hashtags #positionsinplay, #uaeinvenice and #nationalpavilionuae.

Commissioned by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation and supported by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, the exhibition will run from May 13 to November 26, 2017 at the 57th International Art Exhibtion of la Biennale di Venezia, with a preview from May 10 to 12, 2017.

Read more about Venice Biennale