A guide to the best UAE ex­hi­bi­tions of the sea­son

Nick Leech takes his pick from the myr­iad of in­ter­est­ing ex­hi­bi­tions open­ing across the emi­rates

The National - News - - FRONT PAGE -

Now that a new art sea­son is upon us, here’s our guide to the pick of the new ex­hi­bi­tions open­ing in Abu Dhabi, Shar­jah and Dubai.

Bruno Boud­je­lal, Frantz Fanon ▶ NYU Abu Dhabi, The Project Space, Abu Dhabi ▶ Un­til Septem­ber 27, 2017

The one down­side to this en­chant­ing ex­hi­bi­tion is the ab­sence of its pho­tog­ra­pher, Bruno Boud­je­lal. Boud­je­lal charts his odyssey in search of the psy­cho­an­a­lyst, philoso­pher and in­spi­ra­tional revo­lu­tion­ary Frantz Fanon in a series of po­etic im­ages that evoke Fanon’s birth­place, Mar­tinique, the years of his rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion in Al­ge­ria and Ghana, where he briefly served as a di­plo­mat for the post-colo­nial Pro­vi­sional Al­ge­rian Govern­ment.

Com­mu­nity & Cri­tique: SEAF 2016/2017 Co­hort 4 ▶ Ware­house421, Abu Dhabi ▶ Septem­ber 16 to Jan­uary 14, 2018

For a snap­shot of who the play­ers might be in the UAE’s cre­ative in­dus­tries, visit the Mina Zayed-based gallery spa­ces of the Salama bint Ham­dan Al Nahyan Foun­da­tion to see process-driven work from the lat­est home-grown grad­u­ates of the Salama bint Ham­dan Al Nahyan Emerg­ing Artists Fel­low­ship (SEAF).

A year-long pro­gramme in part­ner­ship with the Rhodes Is­land School of De­sign, SEAF acts as an in­ten­sive prepara­tory school for about 15 UAE-based cre­atives each year, many of whom go on to pur­sue fur­ther post-grad­u­ate stud­ies in the fields of art and de­sign.

The March Project 2017 ▶ Shar­jah Art Foun­da­tion, Shar­jah ▶ Septem­ber 30 to Oc­to­ber 30, 2017

The March Project 2017 ex­hi­bi­tion fea­tures site-spe­cific works de­vel­oped by five artists dur­ing the fourth edition of this an­nual ed­u­ca­tional res­i­dency pro­gramme. De­signed to en­cour­age young artists to re­search, re­alise and present works through pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment cour­ses, sem­i­nars, ex­hi­bi­tions and site vis­its over a five-month pe­riod, this year’s crop in­cludes Al Anood Al Obaidly and Nasir Nas­ral­lah from the UAE, Mah­moud Safadi from Le­banon and Sofi­ane Zoug­gar from Al­ge­ria.

Maha Maamoun, Se­lect works in video and photography ▶ Project Space Art Jameel, Dubai ▶ Septem­ber 13 to Oc­to­ber 12, 2017

The video and photo series fea­tured in this ex­hi­bi­tion were the first works to be ac­quired by The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Mu­seum of Art in New York through its new col­lab­o­ra­tion with Art Jameel and the es­tab­lish­ment of the Art Jameel Fund, which al­lows the mu­seum to ac­quire works by modern and con­tem­po­rary artists from the Mid­dle East. These in­clude Maha Maamoun, whose work ex­plores the pro­lif­er­a­tion of re­pro­ducible im­agery that cir­cu­lates, gyre-like, in Cairo’s vis­ual econ­omy.

Ramin Haer­izadeh, To Be or Not To Be, That is the Ques­tion. And Though, it Trou­bles the Di­ges­tion ▶ Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai ▶ Septem­ber 13 to Novem­ber 2

If ever there was a show that had to be seen up close it is this mid-ca­reer ret­ro­spec­tive of the solo work of Ramin Haer­izadeh. Fea­tur­ing col­lages and pho­tomon­tages that the artist re­turns to and mod­i­fies over time, the work con­tex­tu­alises per­sonal im­ages of the artist’s mother and fam­ily with im­agery that re­flects on broader po­lit­i­cal themes and events, un­leash­ing the play­ful and pro­foundly po­lit­i­cal spirit Dada and Sur­re­al­ism on Mid­dle East­ern di­as­poric life, the Arab Spring and life in Dubai.

Ja­cob Hashimoto, Eclipse and Enoc Perez, The Desert Bloom ▶ Leila Heller Gallery, Dubai ▶ Septem­ber 21 to Novem­ber 4

One of two Alserkal Av­enue gal­leries pre­sent­ing two shows at once, Leila Heller Gallery presents Ja­cob Hashimoto’s mon­u­men­tal Eclipse (2017), a bil­low­ing cloud of blackand-white rice pa­per and bam­boo that fea­tured as part of The End of Utopia show at this year’s Venice Bi­en­nale. This is ac­com­pa­nied by Enoc Perez’s The Desert Bloom, a series of prints and paint­ings of re­gional ar­chi­tec­tural icons that ex­am­ine the utopian im­pulses be­hind build­ings such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and Zaha Ha­did’s Hay­dar Aliev Cul­tural Cen­tre in Baku.

Roshanak Aminelahi, Gorda­farid and Mo­han­nad Orabi, Rip­ples ▶ Ayyam Gallery, Alserkal Av­enue, Dubai ▶ Septem­ber 13 to Oc­to­ber 26

Ayyam Gallery’s Septem­ber of­fer­ings fea­ture a new body of work by the Dubai-based Syr­ian artist Mo­han­nad Oraibi, and the first solo show for the Dubai-based Ira­nian painter Roshanak Aminelahi. Oraibi’s paint­ings of chil­dren rep­re­sent a con­tin­u­a­tion of the naive style of paint­ing he first ex­plored in his Mu’al­laqat ex­hi­bi­tion at Ayyam Gallery Beirut in 2016 and not only re­fer to a sense of lost in­no­cence while look­ing back to life in Syria be­fore the war but to the sense of loss that comes with ex­ile and dis­place­ment. Aminel­hai’s large scale works in­clude mon­u­men­tal por­traits of mounted war­riors, enig­matic women and birds that look farther back to epic story cy­cles such as the Shah­nameh, and to a cel­e­brated fe­male war­rior Gorda­farid, whose leg­endary prow­ess is echoed in the con­tem­po­rary deeds of Kur­dish women who have fought against ISIL.

Amir Kho­jasteh and Philip Mueller, Good Face and In­cur­able Flaws ▶ Car­bon 12, Dubai ▶ Septem­ber 13 to Oc­to­ber 31, 2017

One of two shows open­ing in Dubai that are in­ves­ti­gat­ing por­trai­ture, for the other see Be­hind the Por­trait at Gulf Photo Plus. Good Face and In­cur­able Flaws fea­tures the work of two artists who are headed in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions. Phillip Mueller’s Re­nais­sance-in­spired Apol­lo­nian por­traits ap­pear in stark con­trast to Amir Kho­jasteh’s Dionysian grotesques, but both ad­dress the ques­tion at the heart of the genre, what is it that makes a telling hu­man like­ness?

Pouran Jinchi, The Line of March ▶ The Third Line, Dubai ▶ Septem­ber 13 to Oc­to­ber 21

Re­flect­ing on the con­flict that de­fines con­tem­po­rary pol­i­tics and the mil­i­tari­sa­tion of every­day life, from the games we play and the words and lan­guage we use, Pouran Jinchi’s The Line of March re­ceives its world pre­miere in Dubai. A med­i­ta­tion on ab­strac­tion and min­i­mal­ism from both a North At­lantic and a Mid­dle East­ern per­spec­tive, the work com­bines tra­di­tional cal­lig­ra­phy and em­broi­dery, draw­ing and sculp­ture to ex­quis­ite ef­fect.

Daniel Gus­tav Cramer and Joana Es­co­val, Sand ▶ Grey Noise, Dubai ▶ Septem­ber 23 to Oc­to­ber 28, 2017

Umer Butt’s shows at Grey Noise are al­ways dis­tin­guished by the care that goes into their cu­ra­tion – this col­lab­o­ra­tion with Por­tu­gal’s Vera Cortês Art Agency has been more than a year in the plan­ning – and by a com­mit­ment to work that is as aes­thet­i­cally aus­tere as it is in­tel­lec­tu­ally de­mand­ing.

The first ex­hi­bi­tion of Cramer and Es­co­val’s work in the UAE, Sand takes its name from the first work in the ex­hi­bi­tion, a show that fea­tures works that re­flect on en­vi­ron­ments, at­mos­pheres and per­cep­tions that are con­nected by ideas as much as sub­ject or me­dia.

Be­hind the Por­trait ▶ Gulf Photo Plus, Dubai ▶ Opens Septem­ber 13

Never be­fore have we been sur­rounded by such a su­per­abun­dance of im­agery but the irony is that the more im­age-sat­u­rated our lives be­come, the less time we de­vote to look­ing at those im­ages.

Fea­tur­ing por­traits ac­com­pa­nied by short sto­ries and ex­pla­na­tions, Be­hind the Por­trait is de­signed to take us back to the sto­ries and the emo­tions be­hind the ex­hib­ited im­ages, rais­ing ques­tions about the elo­quence of pic­tures, both still and mov­ing, and their re­la­tion­ship with their sub­jects, with us and with words.

Mas­soud Arab­shahi, Early Works from the Azari Col­lec­tion ▶ Lawrie Shabibi ▶ Septem­ber 23 to Novem­ber 2

Fea­tur­ing 25 works on pa­per, card, car­bon pa­per and foil, all made be­tween the years 19601964, this ex­hi­bi­tion sur­veys Mas­soud Arab­shahi’s for­ma­tive works at a key mo­ment, not just in the artist’s ca­reer but in the devel­op­ment of Ira­nian Mod­ernism.

At a time when artists in Iran were search­ing for a new vis­ual lan­guage to con­nect the coun­try’s tra­di­tions with moder­nity, Arab­shahi looked to the an­cient re­liefs of Me­sopotamia and Per­sia for in­spi­ra­tion. The works on show are all taken from the pri­vate col­lec­tion of the Azari fam­ily, formed by an Ira­nian-Amer­i­can cou­ple who were res­i­dent in Tehran be­tween 1959 and 1964.

M Pra­vat, Liq­uid States ▶ 1x1 Gallery, Dubai ▶ Septem­ber 14 to Oc­to­ber 31, 2017

A more than decade-long in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the lay­ers of con­struc­tion and de­mo­li­tion, per­ma­nence and dis­in­te­gra­tion that com­prise Pra­vat’s im­me­di­ate ar­chi­tec­tural and ur­ban sur­round­ings in Delhi, this show uses ar­chi­tec­tural fea­tures to in­ves­ti­gate the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Delhi’s ur­ban fab­ric and its mem­o­ries.

The­atre of the Ab­surd ▶ Green Art Gallery, Dubai ▶ Septem­ber 13 to Oc­to­ber 28, 2017

The­atre of the Ab­surd fea­tures paint­ings and sculp­tures by the French-Syr­ian artist Farah Atassi that nod to the early 20th cen­tury Mod­ernist avant-garde, sculp­tures by He­mali Bhuta that in­ves­ti­gate lim­i­nal states, and new works from Nika Neelova’s Lem­nis­cate series, which in­ves­ti­gates the ves­ti­gial re­mains of hu­man­ity in a post-hu­man world. The re­sult is a show that ex­am­ines re­la­tion­ships be­tween art and ar­chi­tec­ture and be­tween peo­ple and the spa­ces they in­habit.

Thameur Me­jri, Heretic Spa­ces ▶ Ga­lerie El­marsa, Dubai ▶ Septem­ber 13 to Oc­to­ber 19, 2017

The first solo ex­hi­bi­tion by the 35-year-old Tu­nisian artist Thameur Me­jri in the UAE, Heretic Spa­ces con­tains draw­ings and paint­ings that ex­plores themes of mas­culin­ity and vi­o­lence. Me­jri’s can­vases are grotesque spa­ces where bod­ies are mu­ti­lated and then dis­played along­side the de­tri­tus of every­day life while draw­ing on vis­ual ref­er­ences from the lan­guage of news­reels, film and the his­tory of art. There are links to Goya and Ba­con to be drawn, but the in­flu­ence of cur­rent af­fairs is much more im­me­di­ate.

Gulf Photo Plus / Ayyam Gallery / Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde

Fabian Muir’s Ur­ban Burqa, main im­age, Roshanak Aminelahi’s War­rior Rid­ing, far left; Ramin Haer­izadeh’s Still Life, left

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.