Whether it is the Copenhagen gallery ANDERSEN’S who are exhibiting the work of Argentinian sculptor Tomás Saraceno or the London space Rosenfeld Porcini bringing a dual presentation of work by Keita Miyazaki, from Japan and China’s Qingzhen Han, one of the threads running throughout the gallery booths in Art Dubai Contemporary is that geographic boundaries are blurred.
The presentations are those that reflect the globalised world in which we all inhabit and that which is particularly apparent in the multi-cultural city of Dubai. There are first time exhibitors bringing some of the most established names in the world. The most notable being Sprüth Magers (Berlin, London, Los Angeles) displaying a large Andreas Gursky image, Ocean IV, as a primary showpiece, a neon piece by Joseph Kosuth and two benches from Jenny Holzer alongside other artist presentations.
Says Art Dubai’s Artistic Director Pablo Del Val: “Art Dubai has always been a place where past, present and future combine. This year we build on that. Geographies, galleries and artists, art typologies and thematics that are not often seen side-by-side, or even as part of the same conversation, will converge.”
Tomas Saraceno, Aerosolar Canis Major, 2018, Represented by Andersen’s
Throughout Art Dubai Contemporary is a journey through continents and across generations, there will be dialogues happening amid the hallways of the fair. Kathleen Ryan’s Iron Husk With Crystal Ball sculpture will be suspended in Dubai’s Green Art Gallery’s booth next to the architectural lines of Seher Shah’s delicate practice, which will offer a subtle response to Sprüth Magers booth and likely complement that of nearby Galleria Franco Noero, whose exhibiting artworks will all be silver in tone.
From South Africa’s SMAC gallery (Stellenbosch and Cape Town) will be new work from Zimbabwean artist Gareth Nyandoro, who recently had a large solo show at the Palais De Tokyo in Paris, alongside the work of Cape Town-based Alexandra Karakashian; with the pulse of contemporary Ethiopian art on show at Addis Fine Art (Addis Ababa).
Samia Halaby, Blue on Blue with Sun, 2018, Represented by Ayyam Gallery
Dastan’s Basement, one of two Tehran galleries at this year’s fair has spent the past few years constructing a trademark aesthetic where viewers step into an immersive environment, which will serve as a display platform for several young and emerging Iranians. Portugal’s Galeria Filomena Soares will also be shining the spotlight on Iran’s prolific artistic output with a mini retrospective from Shirin Neshat. Taking pieces from five different eras of Neshat’s long career, this booth offers the viewer the opportunity to pause and reflect.
London gallery RONCHINI is bringing a group presentation which includes the late Japanese artist Katsumi Nakai whose multi-coloured wooden structures are a play on volume, form and dimensionality. In Victoria Miro’s sprawling booth, Korean sculptor and installation artist Do Ho Suh has constructed a bath tub from fabric and wire, Bathtub Apartment, as well as several of his light switches, continuing his exploration into domestic spaces and ideas of permanence and impermanence. Miro’s eponymous London gallery will also be bringing a large Doug Aitken mirror installation as well as two towering sculptures from British artist Conrad Shawcross.
The work of Indian artist Shilpa Gupta, who is currently appearing in two institutional exhibitions in Dubai will be showing at Galleria Continua in a large space also housing work by Anish Kapoor, as well as Egyptian Moataz Nasr. Once more the gallery, with its outposts in San Gimignano, Beijing, Les Moulins and Habana, sweeps across the contemporary art world bringing leading names and conversation-starting work to the fair.
For those looking for pops of colour, Custot Gallery Dubai’s booth features bright and vibrant still life pieces from Fernando Botero as well as large Peter Halley paintings and Walter Storms Galerie (Munich) presents colour-field paintings by Shannon Finley. First time exhibitor Akar Prakar from India brings with it pieces by Ganesh Haloi, SH Raza as well as three younger artists; and the entire booth from Milan’s Primo Marella Gallery will be painted in purple.
Custot Gallery Dubai joins nine other Dubai-based galleries in the contemporary section this year: Ayyam Gallery, Carbon 12, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Green Art Gallery, Leila Heller Gallery, Lawrie Shabibi, Khak Gallery, Meem Gallery and The Third Line.
Keita Miyazaki, Barrem Land, 2018, Represented by Rosenfeld Porchini
To slow the pace down, visitors to Ayyam Gallery’s booth will witness a solo display from Samia Halaby and London’s Grovesnor Gallery’s monochromatic display will include pieces by Rasheed Araeen and Mohammad Ali Talpur. At Zilberman Gallery, from Istanbul, the majority of the booth will be given over to the immersive installation by Egyptian Heba Y. Amin, which debuted at the Berlin Biennale in 2018. Amin’s nine-channel video wall addresses the global immigration crisis and will be a certain highlight of the contemporary halls.
Meanhwile, Zawyeh Gallery, from Ramallah in Palestine will exhibit a solo presentation of Rana Samara, a painter whose focus is on intimate spaces shedding light on women in conservative societies. Whist Voice Gallery from Marrakech shows a variety of artists – Eric van Hove, Hamdi Attia, M’Barek Bouhchichi, Michele Ciacciofera, who speak about identity and tradition as well as confrontational work about contemporary life.
Revealing a snap shot into the myriad existences and lives across all continents, Art Dubai Contemporary offers visitors the chance to traverse the globe and leave with an understanding of what it means to be alive today. “We hope that new discoveries will be made and new synergies formed. And from that, the possibilities are endless,” said Pablo del Val.
Housing 59 galleries from 34 countries, Art Dubai Contemporary reaches across the globe to bring audiences narratives of contemporary life, observations on society and examples of richly varied practices, where notions of belonging and nation-hood are brought into question and cross examined.