Welcoming over 100 exhibitors from 44 countries, including more than 30 first-time exhibitors, Art Dubai 2022 will be the most extensive edition of the fair to date. This year’s programme will feature newly commissioned site-specific works by internationally renowned artists; a unique new digital section that will act as a bridge between the crypto and art world; ground-breaking group exhibitions; and an ambitious multi-strand talks programme, including the 15th edition of the Global Art Forum.
Fernando Garcia-Dory x INLAND
Art Dubai’s commission for 2022 is INLAND, represented by Fernando Garcia-Dory, who will present a new multi-site installation at the fair and in a variety of locations across Dubai. Sand Flow will manifest in a range of places and moments, combining visions of Dubai’s past, present and future and examining the ways in which the multiplicity of cultures and communities inhabit the city and their contributions to it. The artwork will incorporate archaeology, hydrology, urbanism and transport as well as the Middle East’s rich oral storytelling traditions, heritage and crafts.
Martín Soto Climent, Gossip Janus, 2021, Tights, frame and plexiglass mirror mounted in mahogany box, 31 x 42 x 10 cm.
A new fair section exploring the digital and NFT art worlds will examine the context out of which NFTs, cryptocurrency, video art and virtual reality (VR) have grown since the rise of digital art in the 1980s, including those who are leading the way in the rapidly expanding digital art space. Art Dubai Digital will feature a curated selection of 17 top international galleries and platforms, and include presentations by some of the most exciting and innovative artists working in the digital space today, including Refik Anadol (Pilevneli) and Uta Bekaia and Denis Davydov (Window Project) as well as multi-artist presentations by Institut, Bright Moments, Fingerprints DAO, Postmasters, Emergeast and Cyber Baat.
Yusto-Giner Gallery – Courtesy of Art Dubai
COSMODREAMS, an interactive installation by Marina Fedorova, will explore the effects of technological advancements on our lives and environment. The installation combines traditional art and digital technologies in the form of large-scale paintings, sculptures, life-size objects and virtual reality video with interactive panels. Art Dubai Digital will also include an exhibition of new NFTs created by the 12 UAE-based and international artists taking part in this year’s expanded edition of Campus Art Dubai.
LawrenceLek, Nepenthe Zone, 2021. Still from open world game. Courtesy: Sadie Coles HQ
Art Dubai’s 2022 programme will feature an innovative talks programme for a range of audiences. Entitled ‘This is the Picture’ and taking place across four days, the 15th edition of the Global Art Forum will examine the worlds of digital artefacts and crypto economies, inviting leading artists, curators, creators, thinkers and technologists to consider a range of topics from NFT art and curatorial projects, to crypto gaming and the metaverse, Web 3.0 and Dubai’s new crypto zone. Confirmed participants for 2022 will include noted collectors Guy Ullens and Ryan Zurrer, and pioneering artists Holly Herndon & Mat Dryhurst and Hito Steyerl, and UAE blockchain advocate Saeed Al Darmaki.
Bybit Talks, an eclectically curated series of conversations presented by the titular and leading cryptocurrency exchange, will give visitors greater understanding about the rapid growth in digital platforms, inviting guest speakers to explain more about the basics of cryptocurrency, digital media and NFT art. Participants will include Tamas Banovich, co-founder of Postmasters; Seth Goldstein, co-founder of Bright Moments and Jenn Ellis, co-founder of Aora Space.
Art Dubai’s Modern section will be accompanied by three days of Art Dubai Modern Talks (10th-12th March), this year held in collaboration with the Dubai Collection, that will examine the life, work and influences of 20th century Modern masters from the Middle East and North Africa. These important artists’ works form the art history of the region from the turn of the 20th century to the 1980s, and the series will significantly add to the existing scholarship and research. Participants will include Art Dubai Modern curator Sam Bardaouil, leading Emirati curator Munira Al Sayegh and Nima Sagharchi, Director of Middle Eastern, Islamic and South Asian Art at Bonhams.
The fair will debut a new exhibition commissioned by and in partnership with Warehouse421 and Salama Bint Hamdan Emerging Artist Fellowship (SEAF). Curated by Maryam Al Dabbagh and Mays Albaik, this show will present a selection of works from the fellowship’s eight-year tenure, drawing on threads and recurring research themes that persist across the programme’s different cohorts. Including painting, textile, video, and photography, the exhibition will reflect a collective questioning of memory in relation to place, time, and a sense of rhythm and repetition.
James Clar (Silverlens)
Julius Baer has commissioned Filipino-American light and media artist James Clar (Silverlens) to create an interactive video installation entitled Cloud Seed, for the Julius Baer lounge at the fair. The installation will immerse visitors in a large-scale real time simulation of raindrops and fog, using custom technology to create a slowly morphing visual system that reflects our control of the environment. Through the commission, Julius Baer wants to showcase the emergence of mega trends such as digital disruption and how artists are using cutting-edge technology in their practice.
This year’s A.R.M. Holding Children’s Programme will feature artist-led workshops for children aged 5-17 years. With a focus on sustainability, the programme will be led by Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru, who will work with participants to retrieve and repurpose everyday materials from their homes and schools, and transforming them into works of art. Through these workshops, Cyrus will challenge participants to alter their perspectives, and re-examine how they see everyday objects and their wider surroundings. The first A.R.M. Holding Children’s Programme will take place at Art Dubai before expanding to take place in 80 schools – reaching more than 5000 children across Dubai, in line with A.R.M. Holding’s long-term commitment to artistic education and Dubai’s creative economy.
Around Town – Art Dubai Week
Taus Machcheva, A Space of Celebration, 2009. Courtesy of the Artist
Art Dubai Week takes place during the final month of Dubai Expo 2020 with a range of solo and group exhibitions taking place across the city. Highlights include: Jitish Kallat: Order of Magnitude at Ishara Foundation; A Slightly Curving Place, curated by Nina Ghouse, at Concrete, Alserkal Avenue; two important solo shows: Taus Makhacheva: A Space of Celebration and Fahd Burki: Daydreams at Jameel Arts Centre. Sharjah Art Foundation will present Lawrence Abu Hamdan: The Sonic, the largest solo exhibition of the artist’s works to date, including a major new commission Air Conditioning and a site-specific performance. When Images Speak: Highlights from the Dubai Collection continues at the Etihad Museum, featuring a selection of nearly 70 modern and contemporary art works drawn from the collections of 11 patrons of Dubai Collection, the first institutional art collection of its kind.