Abu Dhabi Art brings together under one roof internationally renowned and emerging galleries. bazaar takes a look at some of the highlights ahead of the opening.
The mood is upbeat and Abu Dhabi is on a new high. Art lovers the world over are waiting with bated breath for the bigger and better 4th edition of Abu Dhabi Art, a four-day event that opens on November 7 at the Saadiyat Cultural District, also famed for being the future home of Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.
The 2012 edition includes the world’s top 50 galleries, including 10 new galleries. The event features paintings, sculpture, photography, installation and multi media art works of over 400 artists.
The program promises to include a schedule of talks, discussions and book launches featuring renowned artists, curators, art historians and gallerists.
“You can see from the caliber of galleries we have again this year that it was a difficult decision to select a small number from the exceptional submissions, to fit with our boutique platform. We think the line-up reflects our goal – to show museum-quality work in an iconic setting,” says Rita Aoun-Abdo, Executive Director.
“We are delighted to be hosting the fourth edition of Abu Dhabi Art at the UAE Pavilion and Manarat Al Saadiyat on Saadiyat Island. Having launched the unique venue last year, this space, located in the heart of the Saadiyat Cultural District, showcases the dedication and integrity that Abu Dhabi maintains in cultivating the country’s cultural landscape, and welcomes leading and innovative galleries from the art scene again this November,” remarks Nicola Ure, Senior Project Manager, Abu Dhabi Art.
Exciting elements such as an integrated and expansive design program and the Abu Dhabi Art Community initiative as well as the return of the dedicated children’s art zone enhance this year’s cultural event.
Signature, the section presenting emerging artists in a solo show is back again and Beyond returns to show large sculptures, site specific installations, public art works and performance art.
Displaying the most interesting new finds in contemporary art to discerning international collectors and art lovers is Abu Dhabi Art’s initiative entitled Bidaya, which has on display CDA projects from Istanbul. Shen Po Chen, Senior Project Manager, Abu Dhabi Art remarks that Bidaya is one of the most exciting elements of Abu Dhabi Art offering galleries less than three years old, the opportunity to showcase their artists and program on an international stage. “This year, we are delighted to introduce the works of Adel Abidin as well as Turkish artistic contributions to Abu Dhabi, the region and our international audience.”
“A rich and diverse program is integral for Abu Dhabi Art to evolve. We are cultivating a platform to stimulate an exchange of ideas between some of the world’s most influential artists, collectors, gallerists, writers and curators. Our myriad of events includes film-screenings, design and art-based workshops, performances and talks, which are open and accessible to all visitors. We encourage interaction as a key facet for education and have developed the comprehensive public program to satisfy the creative needs of our audience,” emphasises Tairone Bastien, Head of Public Programming, Abu Dhabi Art.
Explaining the objectives of Abu Dhabi Art to the Emirati community, Bastien says, “The objective of the Design program is to recognise and re-ignite understanding of the innate aesthetics of the UAE through the study, exploration, experimentation and promotion of the roots of Emirati creativity – a design aesthetic based on transient states, freedom of movement, mobility, and constant change.”
Bastien further adds that this program supports and promotes UAE artisans and designers in the context of art and contemporary culture by connecting them with local, regional and international figures and institutions through innovative programming.
Make sure to catch the sculptural installation by Japanese artist Tadashi Kawamata , who is known to work in the midst of demolition and construction. The fascinating sculptural installation entitled, Chairs for Abu Dhabi from exhibitor Kamel Mennour, is constructed from hundreds of chairs stacked in layers, forming a six metre-high structure.
Also keep an eye out for Saudi artist Nasser Al Salem (Athr gallery), whose pop installation work entitled God is Alive, He shall not Die is an interesting contemporary work comprising of neon light on a reflective mirror, a testimony to his artistic diversity.
Some other artists to watch out for include Abdulnasser Gharem, a talented Saudi artist whose wonderful work, The Stamp (Inshallah) is inspired by the rubber stamps used by the officials in Saudi Arabia. Also on view are some remarkable works of Sami Al Turki (Athr Gallery), namely The Postman from the Cartoon Series, 2012 in lambda print.
The line up continues with the celebrated contemporary artist and activist from Cameroon, Pascale Marthine-Tayou, known for his eclectic work that is linked to the idea of travel and migration and he will also be speaking at the event.
Finally, the audience will be offered a rare opportunity to attend Art Conversations with high profile Indian artists Subodh Gupta and Bharti Kher (Hauser and Wirth Gallery). The artists are known for their significant installations and outstanding sculptural works using every day objects that indicate juxtaposition of art with day to day life. Gupta has been nicknamed the Damien Hirst of India by British newspaper The Guardian.
In addition, there are a host of lectures, panels, interviews, book launches, and interactive design along with screenings, live performances and interviews with leading and popular names from the art world.
Abu Dhabi Art 2012 takes place from November 7 to November 10 at Saadiyat Cultural District, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It is organised by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and sponsored by BVLGARI. For more information, please visit : www.abudhabiartfair.ae.
Images courtesy Abu Dhabi Art.