Art Dubai 2015 : DUBAI
Running from March 18-21, this year’s fair is by far the biggest (and best) yet. We take a closer look at the ninth edition and highlight what to look out for.
The inaugural Art Dubai that took place back in 2007 was pivotal in setting the foundation for Dubai’s flourishing art scene, and it’s an event that continues to work towards building Dubai’s reputation as the regional centre of contemporary art. It’s now the largest showcase of Arab artists to take place anywhere in the world and it shows no signs of shrinking.
Its vast programme has a number of new editions for 2015 in addition to its main event, which is split into Art Dubai Contemporary, Art Dubai Modern and Marker, which this year focuses on Latin America. Running alongside this, the not-for-profit programme – the largest of any art fair, globally – includes a Global Art Forum that is themed on technology and the creative arts for 2015, the Abraaj Group Art Prize, Campus Art Dubai and the new Art Dubai Commissions project.
Comparable to other huge international art fairs, the scale of participation from incredibly talented and well-known artists from across the globe
is remarkable and inspiring; this is one event that you should clear your calendar for.
Art Dubai Modern
Now in its second year, this section of the fair features influential 20th century artists, focusing mainly on those who were active through the fascinating ‘Modern’ period from the 1940s up to the 1980s.
Fifteen galleries from across Africa, the Middle East and South Asia will be exhibiting a rare set of works that illustrate the breadth of creativity during this artistic period on a global scale. It celebrates regional artists who, despite being highly-regarded in their country of origin, are at times overlooked in the museums of Europe and the US.
Locally-based Green Art Gallery will be exhibiting work here – as well as in the Contemporary section – and there will be works by Shafiq Abboud, a prominent Lebanese artist from Beirut during the ’40s and ’50s.
Art Dubai Contemporary
The 72 galleries exhibiting in these halls were selected via a stringent independent committee process to create a diverse list of more than 500 artists. The result is a rare chance in the region to experience art from both prominent galleries and figures from the contemporary art world alongside new names and fresh up-and-coming art spaces for visitors to discover.
There are some truly outstanding installations to look out for here, like London-based artist Idris Khan’s work, ‘Seven Times’. Previously included in the ‘Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam’ exhibit at the British Museum a few years ago, it comprises 144 steel blocks with prayers sand-blasted,
in layers, over the surface of each.
Raphael Lorenzo-Hemmer’s interactive installation, ‘Pulse Index’, will also be exhibited. Visitors place their finger onto a sensor which measures your heartbeat and produces a visual representation of your pulse over a digital collage.
Previous focuses of Marker have been Indonesia, West Africa and Central Asia, but this year it moves even further afield, celebrating the connections between the Middle East and Latin America in the largest showcase of Latin American art to ever take place in the gulf region.
With everything from film and sound projects to a performance schedule, and work by 35 artists from across Latin America, this section of the programme promises to be one of the most vibrant and dynamic areas of the fair. Works on display will also include a ‘never-ending tropical fountain’ – a fountain sculpture crafted from tropical fruit.
Videobrasil, an organisation that frequently collaborates with artists from Lebanon, will be curating a film schedule, while Colombian artist Maria Jose Arjona will be working with performers, actors and dancers on a variety of different performances, which will be taking place every day of the fair.
Art Dubai Projects
This rapidly expanding programme is experimental and boundary-pushing, running a range of initiatives that extend beyond the few days of Art Dubai itself.
Part of this is Art Dubai Commissions, a project that tasks mid-career artists with creating major site-specific works. Palestinian artist Jumana Emil
Abboud will be participating this year, as well as Maria Theresa Alves and Mehreen Murtaza, who will be creating substantial site-specific
work for Alserkal Avenue.
Fari Bradley and Chris Weaver, who have been artists in residence at Tashkeel for the past year, will be creating a sound project, as are Umashankar and the Earchaeologists, a collaborative group of a scientist, a curator and an artist, who’s project will run over two years.
The Global Art Forum
More than 50 speakers will participate in this year’s event, with the focus for 2015 on technology and the creative arts. This will address the announcements made recently by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, that 2015 will be the ‘year of innovation’ for the country.
The forum, having started in Kuwait this year, will continue at Madinat Jumeirah on March 18-19. In Dubai, one day of the forum will be dedicated to the youth movement 89Plus. The global movement, which was started by two curators in London, uses art to explore the idea that those born in 1989 grew up with a very different experience of technology than the people born before them.
Gallery ALL : LOS ANGELES and BEIJING (showing at DUBAI)
Exhibiting cutting-edge, experimental design, this Chinese gallery has focused on limited-edition furniture and design objects since it was founded in 2013. It currently has two spaces, one in Los Angeles and one in Beijing 751 Design Park. For a country renowned for its expertise in copying, this is a gallery that aims to remind the world that China is also a master of unique and inventive design.
East Wing gallery : DUBAI
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘Big Brother is watching you’, coined from George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, published in 1949. The story is centred around the idea that every citizen in an imaginary community is under constant surveillance by the authorities. The notion that this continuous tracking could ever exist was no doubt unimaginable to readers of Orwell’s novel 66 years ago.
Fast forward to 2015 where satellites, drones and surveillance cameras have the ability to capture our every move, and Orwell’s vision seems pretty accurate. In a society that thrives on social media and where everyone owns a camera phone, issues of privacy have become a growing concern and it’s the central focus of the exhibition ‘Surveillance.o2’, taking place at East Wing gallery in DIFC until Thursday April 30. The artists exhibiting offer an insight into the global war on terror and humanity’s impact on the environment, as well as questioning the notion of privacy. It highlights how we are all essentially spied on by cameras, satellites and drones and it questions corporate and state surveillance.
The show is overseen by New York-based curators Anna Van Lenten and Liza Faktor – who is also a visual documentary producer. As curator of the ‘Half King Photography Series’ – an exhibition that showcases stories told through images – Van Lenten has exhibited some of the best documentary photographers working today. Of ‘Surveillance.o2’, she says that she and Faktor wanted to focus on this topic ‘because it is a figurative one – opaque, jargon-ridden, and by nature, elusive and virtual’.
‘We want to identify the nuts and bolts of government and corporate surveillance by looking at the best of what photographers, filmmakers and data artists are creating to illuminate its consequences and ambiguities so that people can understand it,’ she says.
The show, which has brought together photographers and visual artists who share a desire to discuss issues of national security, the internet’s intrusive dominance, the global war on terror and notions of privacy, is a thought-provoking addition to Dubai’s art scene.
Sat-Thu 10am-3pm; 5pm-8pm. Until April 30. East Wing gallery, Limestone House, DIFC (050 553 3879).
Katara Gallery 2 – Bldg 18 : DOHA
Artist Ameera al-Aji addresses the concept of “difference,” and the possibilities and challenges of being “different” in her abstract art. In her exploration of the “self,” the “other” and the many-facets of what she perceives as “different,” she draws on the triangles which have persisted in her memory and her interactions with her environment, and which are also part of the traditional designs widely used in the regional wool-crafts and textiles called sadou.
In her installations, Perceptions and Transitions, Interferences, and Change, Al-Aji manipulates several wooden triangles to visually capture the abstract notion of the “different.” Each of these triangles has a distinct pattern of white and blue, placed in different angles and parts of its surface. At times, these triangles are equilateral and of similar height and size, while at others they are different in terms of their angles, orientation and presentation in their given space. The metaphor underlying such abstract representation is three-fold: first, the repetitiveness of the triangles suggests the challenges one may face continuously in one’s everyday life; second, the variety of their sizes highlight the diverse levels of intensity of a given challenge one might face; third, the difference in their angles and positioning in space depict transitions we experience during various stages of our lives.
In Celebration of Differences, a series of six large-scale rectangular canvases, Ameera al-Aji marks her move towards experimentation with space and extensive use of white and blue. In fact, she initially painted the Celebration of Differences 1 and 2 in black and white, but recreated them using light layers of white and blue in addition to acrylic and mixed media. Such transition towards brighter canvasses and lighter shades and nuances suggests the artist’s negotiation and reconciliation reflected in her appreciation of the aesthetics and effects the white and blue may have on the viewer. The extraction of the inner abstract thoughts from a human being’s mind and their projection on massive canvases represent a dialogue between the inside and the outside, a manifestation of the possibilities of experimentation with the issue of perspective and the notion of change.
Venue: At Katara Gallery 2 – Bldg 18
From 1 March 2015 10:00 am until 20 March 2015 10:00 pm
ISTANBUL MODERN : ISTANBUL
Contemporary Narratives from Turkey and Beyond
January 9 – June 8, 2014
Within the scope of its 10th year anniversary celebrations, Istanbul Modern presents Neighbours – Contemporary Narratives from Turkey and Beyond, an exhibition that investigates contemporary art practices in Turkey and the surrounding region. The exhibition brings together artists from neighboring geographies that have historical, political, and cultural ties with Turkey including the Balkans, the Caucasus, and the Middle East, etc.
Neighbours explores practices that relate to social life in the public space, such as spectacles and ceremonies, and the way these have seeped into today’s visual arts. The exhibition focuses on two aspects that are ingrained in the region’s cultural weave: narratives and travel. These dovetail into a number of works tangent to themes such as mobility, nomadism, odysseys, language, and translation, and cultural transmission, etc.
Neighbours features visual artworks, as well as performance and spectacles, including extensions of disciplines that have developed outside the academic circles of art, such as political cartoons and folk art. Paradigms of this wide region’s layered narrative traditions are shadow theater, the aşıks (travelling bards), and the meddahs (public storytellers) of old, whose voice, in a new form, still echoes in the work of artists today.
Istanbul Modern hosts 35 artists from 17 countries and a program of special events– screenings, performances, workshops, talks and panel discussions –dedicated to the region’s art and culture. Come Again? video program is on view in a dedicated room in the exhibition hall as part of Neighbours.
Abdülcanbaz (Turhan Selçuk), Furat al Jamil, Mounira Al Solh, Maja Bajevic, Sonia Balassanian, Vesna Bukovec, CANAN, Eteri Chkadua, Ana Čigon,
Rena Effendi, Nezaket Ekici, Cevdet Erek, Adib Fattal (Installation by: The Museum of Everything), Mona Hatoum, Hamlet Hovsepyan, Gül Ilgaz, Babak Jalali, Lamia Joreige, Hayv Kahraman, Hatice Karadağ, Sevdalina Kochevska, Pavlos Nikolakopoulos, One Square Meter (A Festival by ACCEA), Fahrettin Örenli, Adrian Paci, Michail Pirgelis, Younès Rahmoun, Yehudit Sasportas, Wael Shawky, Slavs and Tatars, Aslı Sungu, Nasra Şimmes, Burcu Yağcıoğlu,
Nil Yalter, Živadinov::Zupančič::Turšič
Curators: Çelenk Bafra, Paolo Colombo
Vadehra Art Gallery , D – 40 , Defence Colony : NEW DELHI
‘Excavations/Eruptions’ curated by curator Yashodhara Dalmia.
Participating Artists: Jagannath Panda, Sumedh Rajendran, Hema Upadhyay, Anoli Perera, Babu Eshwar Prasad, Ravinder Reddy, Shakuntala Kulkarni, Mithu Sen, T.V. Santhosh, Suhasini Kejriwal, Waswo X Waswo, Varunika Saraf, Masooma Syed, Muktinath Mondal, Manjunath Kamath & Jitish Kallat.
Ravinder Reddy : Portrait of a Girl : Painted polyester resin fiberglass : 35″ x 19.5″ x 14″ 2014
Umedh Rajendran : Humid Distance : Steel & window glass 44″ x 34″ x 6″ 2015
Mithu Sen : Over Dreamt, Over Dead : Mixed media on custom made, handmade acid free paper : 83″ x 42″ (Each) 2009
Anoli Perera Elevated Utopias II: A Blip in the Celestial Pond
Screen printed cloth, stuffing, embroidery, digital frame with slides, stainless steel structure, LED light acrylic, ink and pencil . 21″ x 23″ x 19″ 2014
Vadehra Art Gallery is pleased to announce Excavation/Eruption an exhibition curated by the leading art critic Yashodhara Dalmia.
In the excavations of the past there was an unearthing of discoveries, which added to the existing knowledge of humanity and civilizations. In the great Mesopotamian arc or the Indus valley, the archaeologists of earlier times looked at the smallest terracotta figurine or the tiniest coin to discover vast tracts of life as it was lived and as it died. The cradle of civilization in Mesopotamia can now only be considered a never ending vortex of destruction in modern day Iraq. In the present an excavation usually reveals the recovery of a lost body or an explosive device, which can cause further violence and death. The whole process of excavation has on the one hand led to knowledge and expansion, on the other to mass violence.
In the subterfuged reality of the present artists excavate their own memory and history and track this journey with markers. The broad parameters of day-to-day existence in the India of the present with its opulence and its seamier underside forms the edgy, subterranean theme of this exhibition where 16 artists use diverse methods from site specific works to digital assemblages and paintings to reveal the state of affairs.
In this show contemporary Indian artists scan with an ironical eye, the new glittering towers and glitzy malls conjuncted with the slums, cesspools and other detritus of existence. The extreme well being and cringing deprivations now largely provide the binaries of existence. From Ravinder Reddy’s iconic head, which is now carrying a load of bricks to Jagannath Panda’s global cesspool, the works of artists in this show reveal the juggernaut of progress, which has left the ordinary person in a state of dismal dessication. The Sri Lankan artist Anoli Perera assembles elevated utopias which gives life to all planes of existence, disrupted by games of power and wealth, which release conflict, terrorism and war. While T.V. Santhosh places man under the radar where the constant surveillance evokes eerie undertones of violence.
Hong Kong Museum of Art : HONG KONG
THE WONDERS OF BAMBOO: CHINESE BAMBOO CARVING DONATED BY DR IP YEE (from 14th March 2015, closing date not yet announced)
The famous quote by Song dynasty scholar Su Shi, “Rather eat without meat than live without bamboo”, reveals the high status in which bamboo was once held among China’s literati and high society. Running from 14th March 2015 “The Wonders of Bamboo: Chinese Bamboo Carving Donated by Dr Ip Yee” exhibition showcases over 150 Chinese carved bamboo artifacts from different periods, providing visitors with a comprehensive display of this particular genre of Chinese art.
All exhibits were donated by collector Dr Ip Yee (1921-1984), and they reveal both the development of Chinese bamboo carving and the exquisite craftsmanship of bamboo carvers. The exhibition also commemorates the generosity of Dr Ip Yee, who went to great lengths to promote the art of bamboo carving before bequeathing his collection to the people of Hong Kong.
Highlights include a bamboo toad carved by the renowned bamboo carver Zhu Ying in the Ming dynasty; a brush pot depicting in low relief “Ding Shan shooting a wild goose” carved by the Qing master Wu Zhifan; a monkey on a horse carved in the round from the Kangxi period of the Qing dynasty; a wrist-rest engraved with the god of longevity from the Qianlong period of the Qing dynasty; a brush-rest in the form of nine chi-dragons carved in the round from the 18th century; and a cricket cage carved with flowers and insects in “liuqing” low relief by the famous 20th century liuqing bamboo carver Xu Subai.
“The Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea” carved in the round in the 19th century
Bamboo is characterized by its hollowness, upright appearance and tenacious quality, and was frequently associated with Chinese literati of lofty temperament as well as with dignity and integrity. Partly for these reasons bamboo became symbolic of the gentleman in historical China. From the Tang dynasty onward, appreciating, praising, painting and carving bamboo became fashionable. During the Ming and Qing periods, simple and elegant bamboo carvings were favored by the literati as studio accouterments, making this a prosperous period for bamboo carving. Bamboo carvings exemplified the artistic preferences of literati in terms of motifs, techniques and charms, thus enhancing the art of bamboo carving and exhibiting the aesthetic value of bamboo artefacts as a fine art.
Dr Ip was a passionate advocate of Chinese antiquities, and with his family’s assistance he began collecting them during the 1950s. He was one of the founding members of the Min Chiu Society and a member of the Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong. His collection reflected a wide range of interests though he had a preference for bamboo carved artifacts. From the 1960s onwards he put great effort into collecting bamboo carvings and was influential in related research and promotion work. After Dr Ip passed away in 1984 his family donated 200 items of Chinese bamboo carvings to the City Museum and Art Gallery (now the Hong Kong Museum of Art), making the Museum of Art the custodian of one of the most comprehensive and representative collections of Chinese bamboo carving.
Hong Kong Museum of Art is located at 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. It is open from 10am to 6pm on weekdays and from 10am to 7pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. The museum is closed on Thursdays (except public holidays). Admission is HK$10 and a half-price concession is available to full-time Hong Kong students, senior citizens and people with disabilities. Admission is free on Wednesdays.
For further information see the Museum of Art website;