Sunday, 28 February 2010

Art Dubai announces programme

Art Dubai 2010 welcomes over 70 galleries from more than 30 countries and an extensive programme of collateral events including the Global Art Forum, the Abraaj Capital Art Prize, special projects curated by Bidoun Projects and The Poetry of Time presented by Van Cleef & Arpels. Art Dubai has become the essential gathering place for collectors, artists and art professionals from across the Middle East, South Asia and beyond, setting the business of art within a context that is intelligent, stimulating and relevant.

Chant Avedissian Al Watan Al Arabi The Arab Nation 2008 Cour

Art Dubai 2010 will also debut single artist-focused stands highlighting current and future masters providing both established and novice collectors a broader and deeper understanding of how an artist's work has progressed.

The Global Art Forum returns as the Middle East's most influential platform for cultural discussion. Under the banner "Crucial Moments", key episodes in the evolution of contemporary art practice in the Middle East will be scrutinized throughout a four-day symposium of debates, discussions and workshops.

A wide range of topics drive the discussions, from Modernism in Iran to the recent influx of transient institutions. Art education also proves a key topic and is explored in the notion of the 'Future Art School'. Further subjects address shifting paradigms of public and private patronage, as well as trends in the collectors' markets. In addition, a series of one-on-one conversations with some of the world's most renowned artists will offer a fascinating insight into the mystery and mechanics of the creative process.

Bidoun Projects, the not-for-profit curatorial wing of arts organisation and publisher Bidoun, will continue its partnership with Art Dubai with a comprehensive programme of events, including a group exhibition of upcoming Middle Eastern artists, commissions exploring the spectacle of an art fair, artist-led tours of Art Dubai and a the Bidoun Library, featuring a nomadic archive of books, catalogues, journals and ephemera.

Art Park is once again host to a range of film screenings, innovative talks and performances that look at the relationship between archives, art, music and film in collaboration with avant-garde archiving site UbuWeb.

A key feature will be the Bidoun Projects exhibition: A New Formalism, which takes as its starting point the subtle articulation of four works that share a space. "The exhibition will complement the rest of the programme, which looks at the spectacular and temporal nature of art fairs. A New Formalism brings together a precise selection of works by Hazem El Mestikawy, Iman Issa, Mahmoud Khaled and the collective U5 that together pose an expanded understanding of formalism," said Antonia Carver, Director, Bidoun Projects.

UAE artist Ebtisam Abdul-Aziz will display a new work, specially commissioned for the fair in which she will re-imagine a map of the Arab world according to a set of numerical codes. Abdul-Aziz is a multidisciplinary artist and writer based in Sharjah, UAE, working in installation, performance, photography and on paper. Her recent exhibitions include the UAE and ADACH Pavilions at 53rd Venice Biennale; Sharjah Biennial 7; and Languages of the Desert, at the Kunst Museum, Bonn, Germany.

To demystify the art fair experience, Bidoun Projects has commissioned artists to act as Art Dubai tour guides. Taking the fair-as-stage-set as inspiration, artists including Daniel Bokhkov, Sophia Al Maria, and Khalil Rabah will conduct daily tours, devising their own narratives through the galleries and the grounds, in an exploration of the pure subjectivity of interpretation. These tours will be offered to all visitors to the fair.

The special projects at Art Dubai will also feature new installations including ice sculptures designed by world-renowned artist Farhad Moshiri and Sand/Fans, a restaging of Alice Aycock's conceptual kinetic sculptural installation that was first exhibited at 112 Greene Street, Soho, New York, in the early 1970s.

The unique 'pop up' Bidoun Library will give visitors access to a wealth of materials created by and for artists, as well as those published by independent organisations based in the region. This will allow visitors to explore, research, and create wide-ranging connections through materials that are generally unavailable in the Gulf.

Of the galleries participating in Art Dubai 2010, up to a quarter are innovating by creating Artist Focus Stands which feature the work of only one or two artists. These new stands at Art Dubai will enable collectors and visitors to see a progression in a specific artist's work over time, generating a greater sense of depth, involvement and understanding of an artist's oeuvre, rather than a quick snapshot of several artists represented by the gallery. Single or dual- focused galleries at Art Dubai will include pieces from modern Indian and Egyptian masters such as M.F. Husain and Adel El Siwi as well as more up-and- coming artists from Korea, Chile, Peru, Spain and the Sudan.

Among the artists being showcased in the Artist Focus Stands is legendary Indian painter and filmmaker, M.F. Husain. Represented by Grosvenor Vadhera Gallery, London, Husain's paintings have played a key role in bringing artwork from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region to the international spotlight. A number of his works will be on display, showing a progression of Husain's work throughout his more than six decades as an artist.

Art Dubai will also feature single-focus highlights from two Egyptian contemporary masters - Adel El Siwi represented by Artspace, Dubai, and Chant Avedissian, represented by Rose Issa Projects, London. A renowned painter, El Siwi has showcased his work through group and solo exhibitions throughout the world. He had emigrated to North America and Europe but returned to Egypt favouring his motherland for its deep roots in the arts. Chant Avedissian in his colorful stenciled images, deftly explores the boundaries between "high" and "low" art, politics and pop. Avedissian refined his techniques in Western art schools, but draws inspiration from Egypt's modern Golden Age, with its glamorous divas and mustachioed movie stars. His iconic figures include legendary singers Om Kulthoum and Asmahan; screen sirens Shadia and Hind Rostom; heartthrobs Farid al-Atrash and Abdel Halim Hafez; and once-adored statesmen like Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Several galleries participating in Art Dubai 2010 will champion emerging regional talent, including Lebanon's Ayman Baalbaki and Iraqi painter Mahmoud Obaidi, both from Agial Art Gallery in Beirut. Bahrain's Albareh Art Gallery will feature a focus on works by Sudanese artist Mohammed Omer Khalil and Faisel Laibi Sahi from Iraq. Rossi & Rossi from London is exclusively showcasing work by Pakistani artist Naiza Khan.

Locally, Dubai-based Green Art Gallery will feature the work of Turkish artist Nazif Topcuoglu. While the photographer has been shown widely across Europe, this will be his first exhibition in a regional art fair.

The 2010 winning artworks of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize will be unveiled at a special ceremony in advance of the Jumeirah Patron's Preview at Art Dubai on 16th March. Kader Attia (Algeria) working with curator Laurie Ann Farrell (US), Hala Elkoussy (Egypt) working with curator Jelle Bouwhuis (The Netherlands) and Marwan Sahmarani (Lebanon) with curator Mahita El Bacha Urieta (Spain/Lebanon) have been working in secret since they won the prize in September based on the proposals they submitted.

THE POETRY OF TIME by VAN CLEEF & ARPELS For the first time, Van Cleef & Arpels is organising a prestigious exhibition covering almost a century of watch making creations dedicated to the Poetry of Time, exclusively for Art Dubai. An interactive workshop area will feature famed watchmaker Jean-Marc Wiederrecht and enameling artist Dominique Baron.

If you require any further information, high-resolution version of the attached images, or request for an interview please do not hesitate to contact me or my colleague Maha Obeid /

And to register for Art Dubai, please log on to

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