Top 5 | Art Dubai 2019

WANJA KIMANI | GUZO ART PROJECTS

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Wanja Kimani, Dust, 2019, Guzo Art Projects

Born in Kenya and based in Ethiopia, artist Wanja Kimani’s works evolve around personal topics and the experiences of migration; the constant feeling of being in-between homes and the longing for familiarity. Her artworks touch upon issues such as cultural adherence, identity, separation, and remembrance. Through various media, she weaves visual stories, reflecting personal considerations on ideas of home and displacement, memories and imagination, that are at once deep, melancholic and thought-awakening.

Kenyan-born artist Wanja Kimani has a visual practice that strings together stories and visual histories which comment on the idea of home, displacement, trauma, memories and imaginations. While imposing elements of her own life in public spaces, she occupies the positions of both narrator and character. This is evident in the various media she uses to construct her work, including installation, performances, text, film, textiles and sound.

ALI CHAABAN| HAFEZ GALLERY

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Ali Chaaban, 12pm Class, 2019, Hafez Gallery

Ali Cha’aban, Lebanese artist born and raised in Kuwait, an observer of culture and traditions which are often reflected in his work. With a background in anthropology, some seem to recognize Ali as a pop-culture analyst. His work revolves around the notion of nostalgia which is depicted so intricately in his art, tackling socio-political issues such as the Arabian identity and the state of dystopia.

The impression that “Arabs are strangers everywhere,” resides with diasporas; the struggle of identity amongst the masses is a never-ending research. Through art is where one finds a common language that displays what is seen but never told. Ali as an artist has exhibited with galleries such as Ayyam (Jeddah), Mark Hachem (Beirut) and Galerie Nikki Diana Marquardt in (Paris).

As an artist, Ali likes to create ‘space’ that provides an opportunity to create a model of dialogue interest; exchanging ideas and notions, creating discussions that transcend intersectoral and interdisciplinary boundaries.

SHIRIN NESHAT| GALERIA FILOMENA SOARES

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Shirin Neshat, Rapture series (women in a line), 1999, Galeria Filomena Soares

Shirin Neshat was born in Qazvin, Iran, a small city two hours from Tehran in 1957. In 1974, at the age of seventeen, she was sent to the United States to complete her education; the Islamic Revolution in 1979 would prevent her from returning to her country of origin for close to twenty years. After receiving a BA from the University of California at Berkeley in 1983, Neshat moved to New York, where she soon began working at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, an interdisciplinary alternative space in Manhattan. Though Neshat had studied art in college, her arrival in New York commenced a hiatus from art-making until 1993, when she made her first trip back to Iran.

Neshat’s earliest works were photographs, such as the Unveiling (1993) and Women of Allah (1993–97) series, which explore notions of femininity in relation to Islamic fundamentalism and militancy in her home country. Her subsequent video works departed dramatically from overtly political content or critique, in favor of more poetic imagery and narratives. Her first video installations—the trilogy comprising Turbulent (1998), Rapture (1999), and Fervor (2000)—utilize dual video screens to portray abstract oppositions based around gender and society, the individual and the group. While these works hint at the restrictive nature of Islamic laws regarding women, they deliberately open onto multiple readings, reaching instead toward universal conditions. Other videos, such as Soliloquy(1999), Possessed (2001), Pulse (2001), and Tooba (2002), along with the film Passage (2001), have expanded upon this formula, presenting similarly ambiguous narratives.

Collaboration has played an important role throughout Neshat’s career; singer and composer Sussan Deyhim and cinematographer Ghassem Ebrahimian have contributed to many of her works, while Passage was a joint project with the composer Philip Glass. In 2003 the Screenwriters Laboratory of the Sundance Institute helped Neshat to develop and begin production on the feature film Mahdokht (2004), an adaptation of Shahrnush Parsipur’s novel Women Without Men; the screenplay is a collaboration between Neshat and the author, and the cinematography is by Darius Khondji, who also shot Tooba. Since 2003 Neshat has continued to probe the central themes (religion, violence, madness, and gender) and characters in Women Without Men through photographic series like Zarin (2005) and the film Faezeh (2008).

ANDRé BUTZER| CARBON 12

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André Butzer, Untitled, 2019, Carbon 12

André Butzer is one of Germany’s most relevant contemporary artists who founded the Akademie Isotrop in Hamburg. Butzer continues to have frequent international coverage in arts publications with over 290 worldwide exhibitions including prestigious institutions such as MUMOK, the Kunsthalle Nuernberg, and works in the collections of MOCA Los Angeles, LACMA, Sammlung Goetz and the Scharpff Collection, amongst many others. A self proclaimed “colorist”, Butzer’s body of work has progressed from chromatically-intense large scale figurative paintings rife with pop-culture references,
to seemingly “minimalist” black and white abstract paintings, all of which allude to “NASAHIEM”, Butzer’s created non-imaginable, non-picture-able space from which all his paintings begin in and move towards. Born in 1973 in Stuttgart, Germany. Lives and works in Altadena, California.

OPAVIVARÁ!| A GENTIL CARIOCA

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OPAVIVARÁ!,  Solaroca, a site specific installation, commissioned for Art Dubai 2019 at Fort Island, A Gentil Carioca

Art Dubai Commissions, as part of the fair’s extensive not-for-profit programme, gives artists from across the world the opportunity to develop dynamic site-specific works for the grounds of the fair.

For its 2019 edition, Art Dubai has commissioned renowned Brazilian artist collective OPAVIVARÁ! to create an interactive, site-specific work at the heart of the fair on Fort Island. OPAVIVARÁ!’s installation, entitled ‘SOLAROCA’, will consist of a beach-like environment under the shade of an oca (a Brazilian indigenous house) and combine a typical Brazilian beach-setting with traditional Middle Eastern elements. The work will serve as a backdrop for visitors to mingle and invite an intercultural dialogue. OPAVIVARÁ! are represented by A Gentil Carioca

more about OPAVIVARÁ!