What’s new and what’s back by popular demand at Abu Dhabi Art
Abu Dhabi Art is back with a programme featuring 40 galleries, commissioned installations, interactive performances, artist talks, book launches, film screenings and children’s workshops.
The seventh edition of the fair, organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, runs from November 18 to 21 at Manarat Al Saadiyat. Expect a rigorously curated grouping of galleries from the Middle East, Europe, North America and Asia, with sections focusing on contemporary and modern art as well as emerging artists.
London’s Lisson Gallery will showcase works by Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei, while Paul Stolper will feature pieces by acclaimed British artist Damien Hirst. Established names from the region include Iran-born, New York artist Pouran Jinchi, represented by Dubai’s The Third Line, while Gallery One will display works by Palestinian Laila Shawa.
Bliss, curated by Fabrice Bousteau and inspired by Abu Dhabi’s character, will present film screenings and live, interactive performances.
Returning for its third consecutive year, the fair’s performance programme, Durub Al Tawaya, will treat the entire city as a canvas under the direction of visionary Egyptian curator Tarek Abou El Fetouh.
Artificial intelligence buffs can slip on a futuristic headset, follow the computer-generated voice issuing orders and join Remote Abu Dhabi, a treasure hunt created by the Berlin artist collective Rimini Protokoll that will send groups of 50 weaving through the capital’s urban landscape in search of clues.
Also on offer is Radouan Mriziga’s choreographed piece that references Islamic geometry and Leonardo da Vinci’s Vetruvian Man, a screening of Shadi Abdel Salam’s 1969 Egyptian classic Al-mummia (also known as The Night of Counting the Years) and Le Cri, a performance by French choreographer Nacera Belaza that marries jazz beats with classical and contemporary sequences.
This year’s line-up of talks and lectures brings together some of the art world’s leading museum directors, critics and thinkers, with a timely focus on the museums and cultural institutions underway on Saadiyat Island.
New to the programme is the Art Architecture Statement Talk on November 18. Louvre Abu Dhabi architect Jean Nouvel will explore the museum’s dome and its Rain of Light concept, which is inspired by the country’s architectural groundings.
An Instant Urban Phenomenon, a public talk on November 21, is part of the Design Lab programme. It aims to bring together UAE students and graduates to cultivate their knowledge of architecture through a “visual urban analysis” of Abu Dhabi, which form the basis for the fair’s cutting- edge Design Programme.
“The talk will explore and debate what constitutes the identity of Abu Dhabi and will debate the soundness and sustainability of the city’s foundations and understanding of what institutes a global, 21st-century city,” says panellist Yasser Elsheshtawy, associate professor of architecture at UAE University and curator of the National Pavilion UAE la Biennale di Venezia at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition next year.
Young artists and their families will enjoy child-friendly tours of the Art Galleries Hall, scheduled to place every day from 12.15pm to 1.30pm, as well as making their own mini masterpieces in the Art Zone.
Running in tandem with Abu Dhabi Art is the biannual exhibition Emirati Expressions: Conventions of Arts, a group show incorporating projects by 16 Emirati artists who were commissioned to create design and fine art projects that are deeply rooted in the country’s cultural heritage.
Visitors can avoid queuing and the disappointment of overbooked events by registering for an access card on Abu Dhabi Art’s new website, where they can view the full public programme and sign up to attend talks, performances, workshops and participate in activities.
• For programme details, and to register in advance for Abu Dhabi Art, go to www.abudhabiart.ae