During Art Basel this past week, two Dubai-based galleries whom we first encountered at Art Dubai this past year, Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde (participants of last year’s abc in Berlin) and Green Art Gallery were selected to participate in the Art | Statements sector, marking them as the first Gulf region-based galleries in the 43-year history of Art Basel to be invited to the fair.
Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde presented works by Rokni Haerizadeh. In the exhibition, the Iranian-born artist creates drawings and a video piece using clips from CNN and printed media over-layed with drawings. Through this, he transforms the images to reveal his personal perspectives on the messages he felt were being sent to the public during Iran’s Green Revolution in 2009.
Green Art Gallery presented this year a video and sculpture work by recent Columbia graduate, Shadi Habib Allah. The related works serve as a cookie crumb trail of the story surrounding the installation. The artist “commissioned” a black market video camera, which is then taken to a Miami automotive shop and recreated into a completely new object, revealing a shiny new chrome exterior and small camera hole, leaving the machine’s functioning intact. In the video, playing adjacent from the newly reformed camera, you see two men speaking through scripted and unscripted conversations while they rework the outer shell the camera, creating a feeling of ambiguity to the viewer of what is and what is not real about this scenario.
The New York Times reported on the historic entry of the two galleries in which Marc Spiegler, co-director of Art Basel, was quoted saying, “The fact that you have two galleries from the U.A.E. points to the growth of the region in terms of its artists, galleries, institutions and private collectors”. Both art spaces are located in Dubai’s soon-to-be expanded Alserkal Avenue, which has become a hub for the quickly emerging contemporary art scene in the Gulf region and beyond.
Green Art Gallery
Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde
New York Times: “Basel Fair Salutes the Rising Influence of Middle East Art Scene” By ALANA CHLOE ESPOSITO – Published: June 12, 2012