Art Dubai wraps up most successful fair to date

Art Dubai

April 1, 2013

Art Dubai
Madinat Jumeirah
Dubai, UAE

T +971 4 384 2000
info [​at​] artdubai.ae

www.artdubai.ae

Over 25,000 visitors, including curators, collectors, gallerists, artists, and 75 museum groups, alongside 300 individual museum and institutional representatives, flocked to the seventh edition of Art Dubai, the international leading contemporary art fair in the Middle East and South Asia.

One of the most exciting and globalised events in the international art calendar, Art Dubai’s 2013 edition underscored its importance as a fair of discovery with a diverse roster of 75 galleries from 30 countries, including a curated introduction to the varied art scenes of West Africa.

Deriving its global relevance through its strong regional foundation, Art Dubai operates as a host for pan-regional exchange and interaction, a key draw for international institutions, curators, and collectors. Of the 500 artists participating this year through exhibiting galleries or Art Dubai’s extensive programmes, over half were from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.

Art Dubai further strengthened its credentials as one of the foremost platforms for cultural discussion through the Global Art Forum_7. Titled ‘It Means This,’ the six-day forum explored ‘definitionism’: with at times standing-room-only presentations by artists such as Michael Stipe, Tarek Atoui, Hassan Khan, Ala Younis, and Manal Al Dowayan; curators Reem Fadda, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Koyo Kouoh; composer and musician André Vida; and Dr Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, professor of political science.

Twenty-eight galleries made their Art Dubai debut this year, with celebrated international names such as GAGProjects (Adelaide/Berlin), Yvon Lambert (Paris), Rampa (Istanbul) and Almine Rech Gallery (Paris/Brussels), joining returning galleries such as Sfeir-Semler (Beirut / Hamburg), Alexander Gray Associates (New York), and The Third Line (Dubai). Highlights included Banu Cennetoglu’s installation of bound volumes cataloging a collection of daily newspapers from 20 Arabic-speaking countries at Rodeo Gallery (Istanbul), a curated booth of works by women artists including Louise Bourgeois and Jumana Manna at CRG Gallery (New York), and photographic works by Marina Abramović at Galerie Krinzinger (Vienna).

Curated by Bisi Silva, Art Dubai’s Marker—a section of gallery booths focusing each year on a country or region—featured art spaces from Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Ghana and Senegal—and was the first exhibition of contemporary art from West Africa in the Middle East. The diverse offerings ranged from Emeka Ogboh’s sound installation at Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos (CCA, Lagos) to organic carved wooden figures by Amahiguéré Dolo at Carpe Diem (Ségou). During Art Dubai, Fair Director Antonia Carver announced Central Asia and the Caucasus as the focus for Marker 2014.

The winning works of The Abraaj Group Art Prize’s fifth edition were revealed at the opening of the fair, in extra | ordinary, an exhibition curated by Murtaza Vali, which featured a floor installation of thousands of pieces of lead by Rayyane Tabet; miniature gold statues encased in acrylic by Vartan Avakian; text panels, photographs and sculptures by Iman Issa; a cabinet of curiosities, home to a variety of objects by Huma Mulji and large-scale photography by Hrair Sarkissian.

An estimated 45 million USD worth of artworks were exhibited at Art Dubai over the course of the four-day fair. Strong sales—including major acquisitions by collectors and visiting museum groups—were reported at Pilar Corrias (London), Nubuke Foundation (Accra), Athr Gallery (Jeddah) Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde (Dubai), and Galerie Rodolphe Janssen (Brussels), among others. Art Dubai 2013 also featured the largest not-for-profit programme in the fair’s history, with over 40 artists and 13 commissions as part of Art Dubai Projects—including VIP lounge for Interns by Ahmet Öğüt, Ehsan Ul Huq’s herd of life-size plaster donkeys, a video and installation project by Dina Danish, 100 Dubai-inspired drawings by Mohammed Kazem, an on-site radio station by Fari Bradley and an installation-performance by Joe Namy. Art Dubai Projects also included residencies, screenings, and a mobile art gallery, as well as dXb store, an initiative that supports UAE-based designers.

As part of its ever-growing educational programme, Art Dubai launched Campus Art Dubai in 2013, in partnership with Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture). Campus Art Dubai runs for six months (January–June 2013), offering UAE-based artists and curators monthly Saturday School sessions, culminating in an exhibition in Fall 2013. The programme also includes monthly public seminars.

Art Dubai is part of Art Week, an umbrella initiative that highlights the plethora of exhibitions, projects and events that now coincide with the fair each March, the most dynamic time in the UAE’s cultural calendar. Special events include Design Days Dubai; SIKKA; and Galleries Nights, featuring 40 new exhibitions across Al Quoz and the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC); plus other projects, museum shows and major events throughout the Emirates, Qatar and the Gulf.

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