Art Dubai, the leading international art fair in the MENASA (Middle East/North Africa/South Asia), has become a cornerstone of the region’s booming contemporary art community. In 2012, Art Dubai welcomed 22,500 visitors – including 75 international museums groups – and hosted 75 galleries from 32 countries.
In the video, Savita Apte (Director, Art Dubai), Marc Spiegler (Director, Art Basel), Kourosh Nouri (Owner, Carbon 12 Gallery) and James Clar (Artist, New York) give insight into 2013's fair and surrounding events.
A sauna and strap-ons? Electronic music-machines and ugly pink bathing suits? Hairy costumes and oversized acrylic necklaces? This is the studio visit that defies all others, where the artist herself emphatically dubs it the "anti-studio visit." Taking a tour of her Berlin studio, located in the sauna of Stattbad Wedding, a turn of the century bathhouse converted in 2009 into a cultural exhibition space and artist studios, is much like experiencing one her shows: disorienting, delirium-inducing, and full of the unexpected.
Paris-based multimedia artist Fayçal Baghriche was born in 1972 in Algeria, and is currently based in Paris. As an artist, he is concerned with tracing images that disrupt simple representational identification. Baghriche works primarily in photography, video, performance and sculpture. We spoke with Baghriche at Satellite, a studio space developed in 2011 by American media artist James Clar and curator Rami Farook in Al Serkal, Dubai. Baghriche spent three months at the Satellite residency in March of 2012, during which time he produced two site-specific works commissioned by Art Dubai as part of their A.I.R. residencies program.
In 2003, Steven Stappleton, a British artist, joined forces with Saudi Arabian artists Ahmed Mater and Abdulnasser Gharem to create Edge of Arabia, a multi-faceted platform for presenting contemporary Arab art to Europe, America, the Middle East and Asia. Having begun in the Al-Miftaha Arts Village in Abha, Saudia Arabia, this grassroots initiative quickly spread to become a powerful voice in the international art world.
Edge of Arabia’s inaugural exhibition was hosted in 2008 at the SOAS Brunei Gallery in London. In 2010, the group began a world tour, starting in Berlin at the Vinyl Factory Gallery during the 6th Berlin Biennale. This marked Germany’s first exhibition of contemporary Saudi Arabian art. They showed an increasing international presence with further exhibitions in Istanbul, as part of the European Capital of Culture, and at the U.A.E.’s 2011 Art Dubai and Sharjah Biennale.
Almagul Menlibayeva is a Kazakhstan-born artist who lives and works in Kazakhstan and Berlin. She creates a poetic blend of video and performance in a unique setting that brings together topics of Islamic cultural tradition and contemporary art, creating a language of so-called “Romantic Punk Shamanism” to present her view of her surrounding world and cultural history. Menlibayeva’s practice stems from her educational background in the Soviet Russian avant-garde school of Futurism, which she combines with a nomadic aesthetic of post-Soviet, contemporary Kazakhstan. Berlin Art Link sat down with video artist Almagul Menlibayeva (presented by Priska C. Juschka Fine Art) during the 5th Art Dubai Fair in 2011.
Sara Rahbar, a mixed media artist based in New York, hails originally from Tehran, Iran. In 1981, a 5 year-old Rahbar fled with her family, travelling for over seven days from Tehran to Turkey to Dubai and then finally to New York during the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution and in the beginning of the Iran-Iraq war. Her personal experience in and between these two often conflicting countries is reflected through her unique perpective on religion, nationalism, politics and war.
Through installations, photographs and sculptures, each assigned a movingly poetic title, she outwardly communicates her ongoing internal dialogue about the world around her. Berlin Art Link spoke with Rahbar about her artistic practice.