Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti
San Marco, Venice, Italy
13 May – 26 November 2017

The Ruya Foundation is pleased to announce that Tamara Chalabi, Chair and Cofounder of Ruya, and Paolo Colombo, Art Adviser at the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, will co-curate the National Pavilion of Iraq at the 57th Venice Biennale, 13 May – 26 November 2017.

The exhibition, ‘Archaic’, will explore the duality and tension in the concept of the archaic, which represents both the idea of a fundamental source, which is antique and steeped in history, as well as the idea of something outdated and no longer in use. The exhibition will refer to this dual understanding of the landscape of Iraq, where ‘archaic’ can simultaneously describe an ancient cultural and geographical heritage and a fragile contemporary political entity.

The exhibition is the product of over two years of dialogue between Chalabi and Colombo and will feature ancient artefacts from the region alongside works of Iraqi Modernism and new commissions by Iraqi artists living both in Iraq and elsewhere.

‘Archaic’ will be the third occasion on which the Ruya Foundation has commissioned the Iraq Pavilion at Venice. It follows the critical success of ‘Invisible Beauty’, which Ruya commissioned for the 56th edition of the Biennale in 2015 and is currently on display at S.M.A.K (Museum for Contemporary Art) in Ghent, Belgium.

Tamara Chalabi said:
‘Archaic’ is an exciting concept which will allow us to explore the complex and
contradictory elements in representing Iraq visually on an international scale.

Paolo Colombo said:
‘Archaic’ presents a wonderful opportunity to juxtapose works by contemporary
artists with rich, deep and layered historical artefacts that are at the origin of
western civilization.