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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

Exhibition explores Giorgio Moroder’s plans to build giant pyramid in Dubai

The Moroder exhibit at DUCTAC. Robert Garratt / The National
The Moroder exhibit at DUCTAC. Robert Garratt / The National

Just because it’s an urban myth doesn’t mean it’s not true.

That’s the lesson to be learnt from a challenging new exhibition at Ductac, celebrating the legacy of disco forefather Giorgio Moroder.

Legend holds that — despite being best known as the producer and composer behind hits by Donna Summer, David Bowie and Blondie — the Italian mastermind was once offered a commission as an architect.

The project? A giant pyramid, set to tower over the Dubai skyline.

A story that sounds too good to be true, when Moroder found fresh fame last year alongside Daft Punk, the UAE-based artist Simon Coates decided to do some digging.

Only referred to fleetingly in interviews, Coates reached out to Moroder’s friends and collaborators to find out more. Pete Bellotte fleshed out the story in a friendly email, explaining how his former production partner spent two years on the axed project.

That email forms one of centrepieces of Coates new exhibition, Giorgio’s Moroder’s Pyramid, running at Ductac’s Gallery of Light until October 25.

Giorgio’s Moroder’s Pyramid

Walking into the exhibition viewers are immediately struck by a sensory wham-bam of light, sound, and space.

This is no static celebration; Moroder’s beats boom loudly across the room, psychedelic ceiling-high projections jar overhead.

Videos of Moroder talking line the walls, pyramid sculptures dot tables, and some beguiling white netting hangs from the ceiling.

It’s not immediately clear if the sofas are for comfort or display. We’re initially too scared to take one of the miniature popcorn pots neatly lined on a white surface. What if it’s part of the art?

Because this isn’t a series of exhibits to be considered in order, rather a conceptual space to breathed in whole.

Alongside photos and memorabilia, the space is populated by a series of specially commissioned works inspired by both the mythical pyramid, and it’s mythical author’s legacy.

Among the highlights is a painting of the fantasy pyramid by Harold Faltermeyer, a Moroder collaborator best known for penning Beverly Hills Cop theme Axel F.

Elsewhere London arts collective LuckyPDF offer a slide show of pyramid-related web pages, while Andreas Heller has created a pointed structure with the same surface area of a vinyl LP.

There’s plenty to listen to: A conceptual dressing room-style space offers distorted, through-the-walls recordings of Moroder classics, mouthed by anonymous, lipsticked mouths.

Elsewhere DJs Wriggly Scott and Andy Buchan offer up Moroder mixes through headphones, while experimental ensemble The Broca Ensemble provide a half-hour improvised cover version.

Telling an urban tale

The point of it all is not just to explore Moroder’s legacy, but the very concept of an urban myth. The idea that a fact is more valuable if we, or others, are not certain it’s true.

“There’s a special kind of absurdity that urban tales possess that transmutes them when we know that the myth is actually real,” writes Coates.

“It is as much the teller as the listener who benefits from such a story as Moroder and the pyramid, because the listener will always, always doubt the veracity until proof is producers.”

An edgy, forward-thinking, conceptual exhibition of the kind you will rarely encounter in the UAE, for anyone with even just a passing interest in music, art or architecture, Giorgio Moroder’s Pyramid is well worthy of your time.

• Giorgio’s Moroder’s Pyramid, is at Ductac’s Gallery of Light, Mall of the Emirates in Dubai until October 25. Visit www.ductac.org

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