x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Five of the best openings to catch in Dubai this week

The city's galleries turn out their best fare in this week's Art Dubai. Here are our five top picks.

Zogh on Canvas, by Morteza Zahedi, part of his solo show Toy Story at the XVA Gallery.
Zogh on Canvas, by Morteza Zahedi, part of his solo show Toy Story at the XVA Gallery.

As the art world flies in for Art Dubai this week, the city's galleries turn out their best fare, with a mass of openings tonight, stretching from Al Quoz to Dubai International Finance Centre.

Here's our pick of where to put yourself this evening:

I Put It There You Name It

Take everything that you think constitutes an art exhibition and turn it, if not on its head, then at least inside out. The brothers Rokni and Ramin Haerizadeh have collaborated with the artist Hesam Rahmanian to recreate the idiosyncratic madness that is their Al Barsha home in Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde.

Forget white walls and nice frames - this warped recreation of their house-cum-studio is interspersed with hybridised sculptures and wall paintings that the three artists have been working on over the past year. They've hand-painted the floors, created partitions and dismantled the airy whiteness that is a given of any other art show. The exhibition also includes a number of new collage pieces that they've been working on, and questions what exactly is the artwork on show here.

Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Alserkal Avenue, until May 17

Truth of the Matter

Grey Noise is a platform for experimental and minimal work coming out of Pakistan at the moment. Since its founding in 2009 by Umer Butt, and now relocating from Lahore to Dubai, the space has offered insight into an often overlooked generation of contemporary artists.

The gallery reopens with an exhibition of work by Ehsan ul Haq and Iqra Tanveer, two artists who typify Grey Noise's aesthetic. Whereas Ul Haq's piece The Physical Existence of Belief transports a seemingly immovable concrete cube into the centre of the new space, Tanveer has chosen to capture a far more ephemeral and transitional moment - the movement of dust particles through a shaft of light, represented via installation and photographs. We've even heard talk of a live rooster featuring as part of one of the works in here.

Grey Noise, Alserkal Avenue, until April 22

Brute Ornament

"Abstract art" is a term that's flung around a lot, and usually quite haphazardly. The revolutionary idea of abstraction - a progressive movement away from painting as the accurate representation of a figure, towards a pure abstraction that is no longer based on a tangible object of study - has steadily ebbed as the word has become common parlance.

Brute Ornament, curated by the critic Murtaza Vali, subtly explores the iconoclastic origins of abstract art, looking at the relationship between this modernist movement in art and ornamentation or decoration.

Vali brings together works by Kamrooz Aram and Seher Shah, wildly different in style yet both exploring these ideas and motifs in relation to traditional Islamic art.

Aram's gestural painting style results in images that can, brilliantly, look rather kitsch, whereas Shah creates highly detailed drawings showing otherworldly, almost architectural forms that seem to hint at some utopian grand design. Recommended viewing.

Green Art Gallery, Alserkal Avenue, until May 5

Toy Story

Discarded dolls' heads cast in bronze, assemblages of thousands of plastic toys and melted deformations of action figures - the Iranian artist Morteza Zahedi distances these cheap playthings from their original use and invites us to consider them as pure forms of shape and colour.

His works have a subtly sinister sense of kitsch about them, a sense of being drawn from an ever-growing dustbin of cultural detritus. In addition to these sculptures, the artist has produced a number of portraits in a variety of media, rendered with an almost disturbing sense of twee.

Toy Story is Zahedi's first Dubai show since 2010, and, like his previous outing, it is an exploratory show about carefully combing through details and spending time with each tactile little piece.

XVA Gallery, DIFC Gate Village, until April 30


Shirin Aliabadi is one of those artists who fires off in divergent directions. She's gone from shots of girls chugging around Tehran in saloon cars to works on paper that show fantastical make-up adorning alluring eyes.

As one of Iran's most celebrated and recognised artists, Aliabadi gets a long-overdue retrospective at The Farjam Collection, showcasing the development of her entire oeuvre and introducing work from two as yet unseen series.

Aliabadi is interested in the feminine worlds that exist underneath the otherwise staunch conservative veneer of Iranian society. She's drawn to the way that individuals become characters in the landscape of their own mind, and how they express this through dress, physicality and plain old attitude.

The Farjam Collection, DIFC Gate Village, until June 19



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