x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Art world comes to Guggenheim Abu Dhabi

A host of established artists from around the world will converge on the capital next week for the launch of this year's Guggenheim Abu Dhabi: Talking Art Series.

ABU DHABI // A host of established artists from around the world will converge on the capital next week for the launch of this year's Guggenheim Abu Dhabi: Talking Art Series.

Starting on Monday, the first series will take place over three consecutive days, with a fourth and final event on May 11. The second programme of the series, which began in 2009, will run from November 20 to 23.

"What we've invited the artists and curators and moderators to do is to really recognise that we're introducing these artists to the region and to the public," said Tairone Bastien, of the public engagement and arts department at Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA).

"Many people don't have that exposure to art and just want to learn more about it and are curious but might not have that experience.

"We found some amazing artists - all of them are really great speakers and are very personable - and I think that what you'll find is that you'll hear stories about what it's like to make art, and what it's like to make certain works and why they make their work and how they make their work, so it's really at an approachable level.

"We're not talking big theory here. We're talking ideas, but at a very human level."

Taking part are five artists whose work will be included in the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection. El Anatsui, Feng Mengbo, Youssef Nabil, James Rosenquist and Adel El-Siwi will all be involved in the first round of panels, screenings, art installations, workshops and demonstrations that make up the series.

"The whole series is a real mix of programming," Mr Bastien said. "We have the main event, which is the evening talks, and that will run from May 6 to 8. Each evening, starting at six, we'll have one or two artists speaking in conversation with curators from the Guggenheim museum and representatives of TCA. They'll be talking about their work, their body of work, introducing people to their practice."

The discussions will also focus on work that is in the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection.

Feng Mengbo, a contemporary artist from China, will showcase on Tuesday, May 7, his interactive video game installation from 2008, Long March: Restart.

The installation will be set up in Gallery 3 at Manarat Al Saadiyat until June 8 and will allow people to enjoy art from a different perspective, said Mr Bastien.

"Another exciting part of the programme is the installation. It's a large-scale, interactive video game and people will be invited to walk inside of this purpose-built room. Inside they will have screens on both walls, large screens, and one person will be given a game pad and they'll be able to play with the video game.

"The idea with this is that we really wanted to give people a taste of the difference that you'll get with contemporary art. The fun, interactive quality of contemporary art."

On the third night, guest speaker and photographer Youssef Nabil will be joined by actresses Youssra and Rossy de Palma.

In addition, families are also invited to take part in workshops that will run on May 11.

"These are open for people to learn more about these artists through hands-on activities," said Mr Bastien. "Through making things. It's always a really popular part of our programme."

There will be three age groups for the workshops: 5-10 years, 11-15 years, and for people aged 16 and over.

The second run of events will coincide with Abu Dhabi Art. Confirmed artists - whose work will also feature in the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection - include Angela Bulloch, Heinz Mack, Marwan, Hassan Sharif, Monika Sosnowska, Jacques Villeglé and Yang Fudong.

Registration for all events is required. For more information people can register online at www.saadiyatculturaldistrict.ae or call 02 657 5800.