Review - Art Dubai 2013

Here's my overdue review of Art Dubai which took place on 20th-23rd March 2013. It was a packed event, from parties, talks, screenings, celebrity spotting, finding the good, the bad, the ugly in the art scene, and playing Art Bingo with my friends (expect a seperate post about Art Bingo in the near future).

Here's a selection of photos and Vine clips I took during the fair.

Window 2011-2013 by Mohammed Kazem

This is the first piece of work I saw when I entered Art Dubai. There were over 100 drawings on the wall. This Vine clip is a very small snapshot of what I saw. 

Window 2011 - 2013 includes over one hundred ethereal drawings, created over the past few years and up until Art Dubai itself; each drawing hones in on a particular detail of the city and its development. Fascinated by the archiving of seemingly unimportant objects, Kazem uses various tools such as GPS as a tool for drawing, mapping, and recording. These strategies evoke multiple narratives and dimensions of meaning.

Between the motion/ And the act/ Falls the Shadow by Farideh Lashai

I was mesmerised by this video installation. I kept revisiting it during the fair.

Between the motion/ And the act/ Falls the Shadow is a video installation comprising a series of epigrammatic film shots describing popular vernacular culture of cafes. These images symbolize a nightlife ubiquitous in the Iran of the 1950-1970s and create an environment wherein the viewer assimilates with the cafe audience in the manner of a virtual cabaret. Images are culled from ‘Film Farsi’ commercial cinema of the period.

Head Series (No. 6) by Taiye Idahor

Lagos Market by Ndidi Dike

Yto Barrada

Ziad Antar

Last Meal on Death Row Gary Gilmore, 2012 by Matt Collishaw

Henry Sagna

Camille Zakharia

 Didn't get the name of the artist, but love the discoball image.

Witness by Hajra Waheed

Karo Akpokiere

Didn't get the name of the artist, but quite like these drawings.

Hayv Kahraman

Auto-erotic Asphyxiation by Mehreen Murtaza

Dicko Harandane

Directions (Triangle) by Mohammed Kazem

Fred Eerdekens

I think there is a comma missing after "Sorry".

Akraam Zaatari - Scratched Woman, Studio Shehrazade, Saida, Lebanon, 1957, Hashem el Madani, 2012

"These were negatives that were scratched because of a jealous husband, who never let his wife out by herself. He was upset to know that she came to be photographed in my studio without telling him. He came asking for the negatives. I refused to give them to him, because they were on 35mm roll. In the end we agreed that I would scratch the negatives of his wife with a pin, and I did it in front of him. I took a pin and started scratching the negative until I realised that I had scratched the wrong portrait."

Hashem el Madani

Kehinde Wiley

Yi Hwan Kwon

These 3 dimensional pieces were amazing to see in person.

Some oddities

Here are some odd artwork from this year's fair. There was a pair of shoes on the wall.

Then we had this hideous looking thing. I wonder if anyone bought it.

Plus, there was an animal theme, just like I saw at Design Days Dubai.

My favourite event at last year's Art Dubai was the Global Art Forum, so I was looking forward to this year's edition. In last year's post I said the Global Art Forum was referred to "as the brain of the art fair...I'd add that it's also the heart."

Sadly, I didn't enjoy this year's Global Art Forum as much as I did last year. I was intrigued with this year's theme, "It Means This" which was directed by Istanbul based writer/editor HG Masters, and commissioned by writer/curator Shumon Basar.

Entitled ‘It Means This’, the forum explored the concept of ‘definitionism’: investigating the words, terms, clichés and misunderstandings that proliferate in the art world and beyond. The Forum attempted to (re)define words, phrases and ideas we think we know, and those we need to know, to navigate the 21st century.

But after attending most of the talks, it left me cold and didn't capture me as much as I would've like it to. I think there was a small level of smugness amongst some of the presenters and speakers which didn't make the talks as engaging as last year. The only talk that stood out for me which I really liked was:

Place (Ramallah) featuring Shumon basar (host), Mourid Barghouti, Shuruq Harb, Guy Mannes-Abbott.

Dream, memory, or reality? What unique perspectives can the visitor, the exile/expatriate and the local resident each offer on what means to encounter, belong, or lament somewhere? What is the best way to traverse it? By running? By leaving? Can you capture it in words and images? What is the 'Ramallah Syndrome'? What sound does it make? What do you remember?

I also found the discussion titled Middle East Nervous Anxiety (MENA) featuring Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, Slavs & Tatars, Uzma Z. Rizvi and Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi interesting.

The most hyped discussion with former REM lead singer and now artist Michael Stipe about "Careering" that included artist and novelist Douglas Coupland, co-director of the Serpentine GalleryHans-Ulrich and Shumon Basar was amusing, but wasn't the enlightening experience we were expecting. You can watch the full talk here.

Transfiguration by Joe Namy

Joe Namy works with sampled sounds, documentary/music videos and photography, to investigate aspects of identity, memory, power and currents encoded in music. As one of the Artists in Residence, he spent part of his three-month residency in Dubai researching traditional song and dance, once used for ritual healing, and unique to the UAE.

When I read the following in the programme, I was quite excited to see the performance.

Namy’s performance, entitled Transfiguration, draws upon the parallels between these ritual dances and their rhythmic connections to contemporary electronic music. Transfiguration will be presented as a multi-media installation including a live performance at Art Dubai on Wednesday 20 March at 7PM on the Water Terrace.

Here are some clips from the night. A mix of modern street dancing and traditional folklore dancing from the region. Wish we could see performances like this more often.

Art Dubai Parties

There were parties by the beach every night during Art Dubai and I was invited to DJ on the second last night. It was the first time I ever "deejayed" - added in quotation marks because I just turned up with my laptop and played music from a playlist I prepared for the night.

I need to learn some basic DJ skills, but I really enjoyed the feeling of being in charge of music and want to do it again. Anyone out there want to hire me to DJ any cool events?

I leave you with one of the songs I played called "Feed Me Diamonds". Big thanks to Natasha Carella from Art Dubai for offering me my first ever DJ gig (and Natasha, if you are reading this, I have not forgotten to make you a copy of the playlist from the night.)

So there you have it, my highlights and thoughts from this year's Art Dubai. There's a lot more I wish I could share, but I'd end up with a much, much longer post. If you are still here, thanks for reading all the way till the end.