Mark your calendars for Alserkal Lates on Saturday 19, to enjoy art, music and exhibitions. Here’s a guided tour around some of the exhibiting contemporary art galleries.
Ayyam Gallery is presenting Echoes and Perceptions, a Summer Collective with works by Abdul Karim Majdal Al Beik, Afshin Pirhashemi, Athier Mousawi, Faisal Samra, Farzad Kohan, Kais Salman, Sadik Alfraji, Safwan Dahoul, and Sama Alshaibi. The exhibition is on view until the end of September.
Through narrative and language, the artists’ protagonists and commentaries draw on boredom and life’s obstacles, some seem trapped within the edges of their medium while others hold on to beacons of hope such as Sadik. Although the exhibition tackles emotions which are currently heightened with the global uncertainties we all face, the works mirror a set of different and often personal circumstances the artists have and continue to live through.
The ideas of loneliness, claustrophobia, and paranoia seem to have immersed themselves in routine life. Relating to Safwan Dahoul’s trapped figure, it’s experiencing the same fate at different scales, resonating with trivial repetition, spatial perception, and the theoretical aspect of distancing oneself for perspective.
Kais’s works evoke ideas of individualism. His work depicts how circumstances awaken various reactions within us, though individuals are illustrated together the relationship does not read. Collectivism on the other hand is referred to by the Afshin and Abdul Karim Majdal Al Beik who use universal symbols that highlight unity.
Carbon 12 is presenting a group exhibition with works from artists Sarah Almehairi, Olaf Breuning, Gil Heitor Cortesão, Monika Grabuschnigg, Amir Khojasteh, Philip Mueller, Anahita Razmi and Amba Sayal-Bennett. The exhibition is on view until the 20th of September.
Moving forward from weeks of isolation, countries worldwide slowly sputter to life once more, as a newfound normal slowly begins to settle in place. The exhibition, Out of the Woods, encompasses a longing for the return of the familiar.
Days have passed, spent observing the outside from within the pristine interior of Gil Heitor Cortesão’s painting, to other days, as in Monika Grabuschnigg’s drawings, spent contemplating relationships in highly digitalised societies.
Upon the reappearance of some semblance of normal, world issues still remain: in Olaf Breuning’s woodcut painting, he delves into urgent matters of global warming and rapid climate change, while in Amir Khojasteh’s series of works, he manipulates drawing as a form of non-restrictive media, to contrast imposing purposes of political propaganda.
As though in response to this sombre realisation, Philip Mueller conveys a character smoking a cigarette in indifference; yearning for elsewhere in this time of uncertainty, for a faraway diversion, such as Tiberio Beach Resort, the fictional beach resort within Mueller’s expansive, imagined universe. With a nod to its title, The Fail, the works reflect on contemplations of now: on the destiny of today, tomorrow, and whatever else should come after.
Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde presents Infinite Angles by Mohammed Kazem. The exhibition features new works on paper, paintings and readymade, which continue Kazem’s exploration of materiality and the visualisation of light and sound. The exhibition is on view until the 19th of September.
The artworks on view are imprints and records of both material and immaterial things in the world, they reveal an invisible light and inaudible sound that exists in a continuous sequence with no beginning or end. Kazem photographs light to capture its manifestations across building constructions. He also hears the sound of light as he scratches it onto the surface of paper.
Elmarsa Gallery is pleased to present Art on paper, showcasing a broad range of modern and contemporary art from the gallery’s collection, in which the use of paper as a surface is the primary consideration. Art on paper includes selected paintings, prints and drawings made on fine art paper, newspaper and cardboard by established Arab artists using a variety of media, including pen, ink, watercolour, acrylic and gouache. Through their diversity both in style and materials, this selection of works not only allows to address various aesthetic expressions, but also to examine methods and topics used by artists across the Arab world, spanning the period from the 1940s to the present day. Art is a product of its time that is understood and appreciated as a result of the social, political and cultural context in which it was made and the wider range of influences that shaped art history.
Exhibiting artists include, Abdelaziz Gorgi, Abdulaziz Ashour, Adam Henein, Ammar Farhat, Aly Ben Salem, Atef Maatallah, Baya Mahieddine, Brahim Dhahak, Charles Hussein Zenderoudi, Gouider Triki, Halim Karabibene, Khaled Ben Slimane, Mahjoub Ben Bella, Mohammed Khadda, Nabil Saouabi, Nja Mahdaoui, Omar Bey, Rachid Koraichi and Raeda Ashour.
Leila Heller Gallery is pleased to present its first ever solo exhibition of the pioneering Emirati Artist Abdul Qader Al Rais in Nuqta: The Diacritic. On view until the 15th September, Nuqta: The Diacritic presents a series of the artist’s paintings across his third period of his work, which is marked by his engagement with bringing abstraction and local cultural heritage into dialogue. Al Rais incorporates the contours of calligraphy as well as the rocky cliffs, deserts, and shores of the region’s unique natural world into his rigorous study of the fundamental elements of colour, form, and light. The works exhibited range from oil on canvas to watercolour on paper, and offers a painterly alternative to current understandings of the UAE’s art history as rooted in highly concept-based and anti-aesthetic installations.
The show’s title, Nuqta, derives from the diacritical marking used in Arabic script, which in stark opposition to the use of circular dotting in Latin scripts, is a diagonal definitive square, and often a central motif in Al Rais’ paintings. Appearing in an enlarged size, and contrasting with the sway of the smaller, surrounding curving letters, the Nuqta takes on an authoritative presence, adding a surrealist element by distorting the viewer’s sense of dimension, while recalling the relationship between geometry and language and its potential role in abstraction.
Green Art Gallery presents On Stones and Palimpsests by Hera Büyüktaşcıyan. The exhibition is on view until the 7th of November.
Büyüktaşcıyan digs into the depths of terrestrial imagination by unearthing different historical narratives and timelines. A case in point is the sculptural installation Reveries of an Underground Forest, placed at the heart of the gallery space, which was first shown at the 2019 Toronto Biennale. Referencing the forests and riverbeds of the indigenous peoples that were destroyed and forgotten in the construction of the city of Toronto in the early 1800s, the work alludes to the lumber used by migrant workers to support urban infrastructure. Like amputated tree stumps, these foundations stand in columns of rolled (and unraveling) industrial carpets, parts of their epigraphic surfaces relaying intricate cartographies of land and urbanity. Their designs are composed from Indigenous and Punjabi (Phulkari) textile patterns and aerial city maps, accentuating the artist’s interest in other contested lands across time. The pillars are symbolic witnesses of the past and the present resurfacing from the ground; their imprinted forms occupy a space before language – part musical annotation, coded symbols of collective loss, part unbounded geographies situated between place and displacement.