Alright, here’s a less lazy post about the past two days of running around to final Art Dubai events and the start of the first annual Dubai Festival of Lights. I managed to hit the second hall of galleries at Art Dubai that I missed the first time around when I got distracted by opulence and booze. Some great photo-based works were on view (see below). I also attended the Global Art Forum discussion 1955-2055: A Documenta Century. I was pretty pumped for this talk as the conversants on the panel was impressive:
“Catherine David (Art historian and independent curator), Okwui Enwezor (Director, Haus der Kunst and Director of the Visual Arts Sector of the 56th Biennale di Venezia, 2015), Adam Szymczyk (Director, Kunsthalle Basel and Artistic Director of documenta 14, 2017). Hosted by Hans Ulrich Obrist (Curator, Co-director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects, Serpentine Gallery).” For description of talk go here.
My enthusiasm, however, dissipated pretty quickly. The topic of discussion was totally appropriate to the Fair and the subject of global art exhibitions has been of great interest to me since I was an undergrad. The problem for me was Hans Ulrich Obrist’s facilitation style. His introduction was over-long and it wasn’t so much a discussion as interview segments with a group of people on stage. It was clear that each curator (including Hans) has their own unique personality and style. There were momentary glimpses of Catherine David’s French intellectual haughtiness (which was amusing and bemusing), Okwui Enwezor’s wit and sense of humour, and Adam Szymczyk‘s thoughtfulness. It could have been a great discussion if the participants were given the opportunity to actually discuss and respond to each other in a more organic conversational style. What resulted was, in my view, a rather convoluted dialogue about each individual’s experience of Documenta. The take away was basically, Documenta is important and interesting, but so are a lot of things. *shrugs shoulders*
Art Dubai 2014 – Round 2
Here’s my most recent image dump of things I saw at the Fair and a couple from the Festival of Lights, just because.
Loved this series of works on display at the Experimenter Kolkata booth by Hajra Waheed. Really simple, but innovative display style brought the images to life.
I also enjoyed the work at the Kalfayan Galleries booth by Lebanese artist Raed Yassin. His embroidered “photographs” are created from memories of family photographs that were lost or destroyed over years of upheaval in Lebanon. An interesting exploration of memory, loss and nostalgia.
I’ve seen Yassin’s Chinese porcelain works previously in random art publications and really love the amount of detail he puts into each scene. I liked the tension created between the polished surface of the delicate vessels and the images of violence depicted on them.
These large scale photographs by Atta Kim are part of the Korean artists On-Air project series. They were taken with long exposures on a large format 8 x 10 camera. It’s a simple technique, but the prints are beautiful and the images are quite elegant with traces of movement here and there.
And last, but in now way the least, the big excitement of the day was when H.H. Sheikh Mohammed, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai appeared to check out some of the art.
Oh, and this is a nice scene from Dubai Festival of Lights. Basically it’s eye candy for people roaming around Downtown Dubai. Think giant light fixtures and projection mapping on buildings.