Abu Dhabi Art 2014

Dan Flavin, untitled (to Virginia Dwan) 2, 1971. blue, yellow, pink, and red fluorescent light. 8 ft. (244 cm) wide across a corner. CL no. 278

Dan Flavin, untitled (to Virginia Dwan) 2, 1971. blue, yellow, pink, and red fluorescent light. 8 ft. (244 cm) wide across a corner. CL no. 278

The sixth edition of Abu Dhabi Art is on this week from 5th-8th November 2014. The fair will include international and local galleries, a series of talks, performances, large scale installations and a first look at artworks acquired specifically for Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection. The complete schedule of events can be found here.

I missed Abu Dhabi Art last year, so I'm looking forward to attending this year, especially the talks and performances.

Here's what to expect: 

Art Talks

This year the programme is inspired by the “life” of Modern Museums, including the future museums of Saadiyat Island, as spaces of education, performance and experience. 

Reflecting on these themes will be a Louvre Abu Dhabi: Talking Art Series panel featuring Jean NouvelErnesto Neto and Vincent Pomarede titled “Museums as Sites for New Experiences”, and a playful lecture-performance by Martin Creed titled “What is Art?”.

Artist and artwork engagement with wider audiences is also explored in talks by world-renowned artists such as the legendary Richard Long, one of the founders of the “land art” movement, as well as inspiring talks by Hassan Hajjaj and Job Smeets of the design collective Studio Job, whose works represent different perspectives on popular culture. 

The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection will be discussed and part of it will be on display for audiences to experience in the exhibition Seeing Through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection, which opens in parallel with Abu Dhabi Art. Featuring interactive and engaging artworks that use light as a medium and a muse, the exhibition is enhanced by a public panel that introduces audiences to three artists in the exhibition and collection: Angela BullochRachid Koraichi and Shirazeh Houshiary.  

Artists' Waves

Xing Danwen, Urban Fiction19, 2004, C-Print on D-Bond, 80cm x 115.7cm. Courtesy the artist.

Curated by Fabrice Bousteau, Artists’ Waves reflects Abu Dhabi Art’s role as a crossroads for established and emerging artists and a melting pot of contemporary art forms and practices capturing the spirit of transversality.

Works by Ahmed Kassem, Ahmed Khaled, Alessandro Cannistrà, Andrzej Zielinski, Christine Boillat, Francisco Sierra, Habib Farajabadi, Huber.Huber: Reto and Markus Huber, Luc Andrié, Luca Cervini, Nagla Samir, Shadi Ghadirian and Xing Danwen will be featured.



Mohammed Kazem - Directions (Circle) 2014 White acrylic, aluminum and LED light 123 x 298 x 10 cm

Francois Morellet, Pier and Ocean, 2014 38 blue argon neon tubes and wooden pier, variable dimensions

Beyond aims to introduce art to public spaces and this year's edition features large–scale installations and will be on display in public areas throughout the city for six months. 

Together these works form a series of autonomous artworks in dialogue with each other culminating in a presentation of unity in diversity revealing the dynamism of public art.  Inspired by the character of Abu Dhabi and its changing urban landscape Beyond creates a conceptual line to guide the development of even greater moves to introduce and promote “art in public space.”

Beyond features works by 14 artists includingAi Weiwei (Lisson Gallery), Bita Fayyazi (Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde), Choi Jeong Hwa (Park Ryu Sook Gallery), Feryel Lakhdar (Elmarsa), François Morellet (kamel mennour), Hanaa Malallah (The Park Gallery), Ilya Kabakov (Galerie Brigitte Schenk), Mohammed Kazem (Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde), Sahand Hesamiyan (The Third Line), Sherin Guirguis (The Third Line), Shilpa Gupta (Galleria Continua), Subodh Gupta (Hauser & Wirth), Virginie Yassef (Galerie GP & N Vallois).

Performing Arts

Amala Dianor, NIOUN REC (Only Us), Performance, 30 minutes. Music: François Przybylski

Amala Dianor, NIOUN REC (Only Us), Performance, 30 minutes. Music: François Przybylski

The art performances this year will include imusic, dance, song and sound presented within a "particular coloured ambiance" titled Hours and Colours, curated by Fabrice Bousteau. Hours of each day will be associated with a particular colour (blue, orange and violet) and its correlating symbols. At these times, visitors will gather for art performances with interrelated forms of content presented within a particular coloured ambiance. 

Inspired by the French Gothic manuscript Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (c.1410) (The very Rich Hours of the Duke of Berry), which references the  techniques of illumination and calligraphy that are common points in both Islamic and Occidental Art, Hours and Colours will articulate these connections in a programme that includes: 

“Blue, a true color in Art”, a video screening with music by Nils Frahm, featuring works of art from Ancient Egypt to the modern day

“Killer Road” by legendary artist and musician Patti SmithJesse Smith and Soundwalk Collectives, a sound exploration and meditation on the idea of perpetual motion and the cycle of life and death

“Nioun Rec” (Only us)  by Amala Dianor, an improvised dialogue between music and dance

“Rising Carpet” an activated art-installation by Moussa Sarr

Still from Paper Music

The Performing Arts programme will also include Durub Al Tawaya which will showcase a variety of artistic and cultural collaborations between local and international institutions focusing on performances and publishing projects that will launch during Abu Dhabi Art and extend to spring 2015. 

This year's edition of Durub Al Tawaya is inspired by the philosophical themes and the dramatical structure of Hayy Bin Yaqzan, a 12th century novel written by Andalusian scientist and philosopher Ibn Tufail. The story illustrates the complexity of humans’ relationship to nature and to others. Ibn Tufail puts forward an early interpretation of materialism that questions human dependency on objects for the sake of life’s comforts. Durub Al Tawaya will include: 

That Night Follows Day, a rehearsed reading written by Tim Etchells, the artistic director of the acclaimed company Forced Entertainment, performed by sixteen children and young adults from Abu Dhabi

Sound performance using cars with super modified stereo systems by Joe Namy

An interactive performance created by Cevdet Erek mimicking the sound of the sea featuring Jana Saleh

The Middle East premiere of Paper Music, a cine-concert with video by world-renowned visual artist William Kentridge and music by Philip Miller.

Durub Al Tawaya refers to the Emirati term tawaya; points of respite where desert travellers found underground water springs. These unchanging loci were marked along paths or durub. In classical Arabic, tawaya refers to layers of meaning, ideas and values that are revealed as they unfold.

Seeing through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection

Otto Piene, Hängende Lichtkuge (Hanging Light Ball), 1972. Perforated and chromium-plated brass sphere, chromium-plated brass spheres, light bulbs, and electric motor, 223.5 x 68 cm. Photo © Guggenheim Abu Dhabi

Seeing through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection features 19 artworks acquired specifically for Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection, as well as two key loans from its partner institution, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. This collection will be on display till 19th January 2015. 

Seeing through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection examines the theme of light as a primary aesthetic principle in art. This unifying thesis offers many avenues for interpretation, whether natural or artificial, directed or reflected, interior or exterior, transcendent or celestial. The theme’s richness and flexibility also has particular relevance across cultures and time periods.

The exhibition unfolds through five sections that examine light in various iterations: Activated, Celestial, Perceptual, Reflected, and Transcendent.

While the exhibition begins chronologically in the 1960s (which aligns with the start date for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection), it quickly blends time and mixes established and mid-career artists, as well as assembling a diversity of media within each section.

From immersive environments that visitors can move around in and even through to video, painting, and sculpture, one will be able to experience light in all of its spatial, sensory, and perceptual phenomena.

Some of the artists included are Angela Bulloch, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Robert Irwin, Y.Z. Kami, Bharti Kher, Rachid Koraïchi, Yayoi Kusama, Otto Piene, and Douglas Wheeler.

Schedule of events can be downloaded here.


Event details

Date: Wednesday 5th - Saturday 8th November 2014

Venue: Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Cultural District, Abu Dhabi

Free entry. All talks and events are open to the public, but registration in advance is necessary