I booked to go on an art walk round Dubai’s art cluster in Al Quoz called Alskeral Avenue.
I decided I was not going to research what was being exhibited but to go with a fresh pair of eyes, take pictures of what I liked and then come home and research the artist.
Al Quoz is made up of three areas numbered 1,2 and 3 predominately an industrial area Alskeral Avenue is situated on 8th street in area Al Quoz 2. The whole art area is made up of warehouses which have been split up to make galleries and cafes. It reminds me of the mini industrial units you see on industrial estates back in the U.K. There where a few outdoor art installations in open spaces in between warehouses. Each warehouse was labelled with numbers but still lots of us booked on the walk got lost trying to find the initial start up point. This ‘broke the ice’ between the group as we noticed each other asking the security guard the same question. “where is warehouse 90?”
Everyone walked from gallery to gallery listening to the tour guide. I didn’t catch her name but it was obvious she was French and an expert in Art History.
First stop was Warehouse 45 which is occupied by Jean-Paul Najar Foundation.
The exhibition on show was Christian Bonnefoi: Double Take, November 13,2016-February28,2017. Curated by Sylvie Turpin.
I looked at all the mixed media pictures. There was mixed paper with tissue and other delicate materials to make a collages. These pictures reminded me of the fashion in the 80’s abstract I know, but I couldn’t shake the sense of MFI furniture with red and yellow handles and I half expected to see a person in a blue shell suit as I wondered round the gallery. It was bizarre how my mind worked when I was staring into the chaotic pencil marks on the paper. I found one image that had a different vibe I took a photo using my phone so I could note the contrast between the majority of the artworks and this one piece. This piece to me was the end of the series of work. Unfortunately it got deleted off my phone so I am going to go back before the exhibition finishes to get another image.
Carbon 12 was the next gallery. The gallery space was all white and deceptively small, the exhibition that was on was
Olaf Breuning : The Good Old Revolution, 13th November 2016-10 January 2017
Olaf Breuning born 1970 in Switzerland is New- York Based and he is a multi-disciplinary Artist. The exhibition consisted of several black and white penned drawings framed and hung on the walls while the twelve mini sculptures were displayed on stands around the gallery.
I picked up the Press Release and deciphered the following
‘observations of the human experience with absurdist drawings serving as the starting point alongside a new series of miniature ceramic sculpture’s’
His monochromatic line drawings are delightfully cheeky in layers of context, reference and interpretation with which he engages.
He addresses cultural and political issues and infuses his art with the realness of a world dominated by media, pop-culture and globalization…
Constituting of humorous art without ridiculing art.
Carbon 12 Press Release – Katrina Kufer October 2016
This guy’s work did make me smirk as I was walking round. It reminded me of the doodles you draw when your stuck in a boring meeting. I really wanted to buy number 21. We are so Violent for my Kitchen. So my kids can see it everyday and ask questions about it. His artwork raises questions and I liked the simplicity of them.
Ayyam Gallery in contrast to Carbon 12 was a very large gallery and in two locations in Askeral Avenue. One part for was used just for large art installations the other for walled displays.
Mouteea Murad : Thresholds 13 November 2016-7 January 2017, curated by Murtaza Vali
Again deciphering that press releases I pieced the following together
Mouteea is a Sharjah based painter
The artists experiments with the use of Mathematics and geometric abstractions, an approach to non-objective art that he developed over the course of a decade.
He has returned to Dubai with large scale works that use the Fibonacci number sequence as a starting point for his large scale compositions.
Murad applies the Fibonacci series to grid- like patterns that partially conceal the interactions of polygons and lines, thus creating an illusion of depth.
The mural Rainbow – rain and light and love (2016), the artist uses uniform bands that seem to decrease in width towards the centre of the composition. The painting is divided into seven distinct planes that are organized according to similar hues and contain intersecting lines. Here colour relativity also plays a central role in creating a vast space.
I asked the lady behind the desk in the gallery what the price was of the mural, 90,000 aeds. It took a month to make. I must say it was quite impressive and I stood and looked at it from afar and then up close. I examined the corners and how fine the divisions were between each colour. I love hearing and seeing blends of science and art. This mural could easily be placed in a boardroom or a large hotel reception area. The effect worked best from afar and if you didn’t know that the artist had used the Fibonacci series as a starting reference you could easily say a child could do that with masking tape, a ruler and paint but you would be wrong.
Second location for the Ayyam Gallery
Khaled Jarrar : Castles built from Sand will Fall 13 November 2016- 7 January 2017
Castles built from sand will Fall provides a condensed over view of Jarrar’s focus on this issue with a range of work in different media. Featuring installation, photography, video, sculpture and art objects, the exhibitionoffers a look into the various strands of his creative practice.
We were told before we went in the gallery about the artist Khaled Jarrar. He was born in Jenin in 1976 and lives and works in Ramallah, Palestine.
His art installations and documentary work has won him several awards and accolades (see link) He broaches difficult subjects where he asks the viewer to rethink the intersections of life, politics and visual culture.
I don’t know why but I couldn’t help but hearing Don Mclean lyrics from the song ‘Castles in the air’ which was totally inappropriate for the exhibition content.
Past the through the wall was a video installation, Journey 110 documents a hidden 110 metre passageway beneath the massive wall in the West bank.
I think the artist wanted to show the absurdity of the situation when partitions and segregation are involved. Highlighting the depravity of the situation in Palestine
Student pop up exhibition from Sheik Zayed University
This exhibition was interesting. The student Asma Khoory had done portraits of construction workers and taken audio samples as well as the GPS coordinates of the construction sites the workers worked in Dubai. The audio stories were made for the benefit of the workers families back in their respective countries.
I noticed that all the workers where from the same company but different sites. They were also at different levels of management within the company. Now I know, because I have tried that you are not allowed to photograph workers and display the images without permission from their sponsor. I hope Asma Khoory got permission.
Anyway the images reminded me straight away of the Open for Business Exhibition. I seen it in July 2014 at the National Railway Museum, York UK. Particularly the Bruce Gilden images. ( see link )
The walk was well organized and information was readily available. It was ok, I wasn’t enthused by the area and some galleries weren’t open. I actually feel you can’t enclose art to just one area in a city. It should be seen everywhere. I will definitely book another art walk as the experience overall was interesting.