A new artist-led section within Abu Dhabi Art's fair, an expanded design programme with a focus on architecture and UAE aesthetics, a launch of a performing arts platform that coincides with the four-day event (20 to 23 November) are some of the many highlights of the Abu Dhabi Art 2013 edition.
Reflecting the growth of Abu Dhabi's artistic scene the new performing arts programme titled Durub Al Tawaya, which refers to the Emirati term tawaya (points of respite where desert travellers could find underground water springs and respite). Curated by Tarek Abou El Fetouh, the programme begins in Saadiyat Cultural District and expands into the city of Abu Dhabi, creating a special route connected by enactments and cultural happenings.
Audiences are invited to follow paths on buses—'contemporary installations' commissioned by artists from the UAE and abroad—to several outdoor, communal spaces transformed by performances and artistic interventions. Each of the four stops on the route are of significance within the city (Manarat Al Saadiyat, Mina Zayed the city's historic port, the Corniche Beach and the Marina area) and will host a series of activities and performances with a diversity of artists, poets, performers and institutions. This includes Afra Al Dhahri, Contemporary Image Collective, Cao Fei, Mobius Studio, Ho Tzu Nyen, Selma and Sofiane Ouissi, Salem Al Qassimi, Hamdan Al Shamsi, Wael Shawky, Rayyan Tabet, Hiroaki Umeda, 98 Weeks, and an evening of poetry will run in collaboration with UAE Writers Union.
A new section of Abu Dhabi Art will also be launched in the 5th edition, titled Artists' Waves, a concept that places the discovery and re-discovery of artists at the core of the four-day event, through a curated exhibition. Works reflect the dynamism of new artistic movements and shifting perceptions. The section includes a special salon in which visitors can engage with galleries representing the participating artists, in a rotating programme, reminiscent of the age-old tradition of the salon as a place for creativity and the sharing of ideas.
This year's Art, Talks & Sensations will present new video works, dance and music performances outdoors, located just outside Manarat Al Saadiyat. Titled Dunes and Waves, the programme includes a multidisciplinary arrangement of artistic practice; fleeting live performances, video screenings, music made by plants, poetic installations, 'human architectures' created by performers in movement. Participating artists include Chassol, and Alexdrine Leclere & Julie Fruchon. Alongside this programme will be another new exhibition for Abu Dhabi Art 2013 titled Small is Beautiful, part of this year's Art, Talks & Sensations, featuring small-scale artworks from galleries participating in the Modern, Contemporary & Design sector. The title is a tribute to the 'Small is Beautiful' theory published in 1974 by the British economist E.F. Schumacher offering a premise that pursues the path of the small-scaled and the human-sized.
Architecture is further investigated through the Abu Dhabi Art Design Programme which includes a wide spectrum of forward-thinking design presented in the form of architecture, furniture, product design, jewellery, textiles and handicraft, highlighting the UAE's unique aesthetics. Individual presentations, new commissions, collaborative ventures and workshops, will emphasise the best of contemporary design, featuring Emirati and international artisans and designers.
The programme will also have a particular focus on architecture as a major discipline that has an important and long-standing connection with the region, from the earliest inhabitants who adapted to climate and terrain using temporary and mobile structures, to present-day innovations and examples of revolutionary architectural thinking that characterise the current landscape of Abu Dhabi and cities across the UAE. A commission of a mobile-structure by legendary Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, well-known for his innovative work with paper and recycled materials, takes the form of a souq, inspired by the environment, culture and heritage of the UAE.
For its first appearance in the Middle East, TASCHEN, one of the most successful and unique publishers in the global market—will present a collection of high-end titles on art and architecture.
Abu Dhabi Art organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority is an annual platform for modern and contemporary art and design to be held from 20-23 November. The event is sponsored by Julius Baer, the leading Swiss private banking group with a focus on serving and advising sophisticated private clients. Abu Dhabi Art is held at Manarat Al Saadiyat and the iconic UAE Pavilion on Saadiyat Island.
Abu Dhabi Art is organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority to further promote Abu Dhabi as a catalyst for art and culture—locally, regionally, and internationally. Abu Dhabi Art creates the opportunity for gallerists, collectors, artists and art aficionados to meet, to acquire new artworks, share ideas and exchange information. Providing a wide spectrum of the visual arts including painting, sculpture, drawing, installation and photography as well as video and digital art by more than 400 artists, Abu Dhabi Art showcases both renowned and emerging artists. Since its inception, the fair has also supported new artists gaining foothold into the market and has artwork appealing to different tastes and budgets.
Engaging with the community is an essential part of the Abu Dhabi Art platform and visitors can enrich their experience through the many public and education programmes that are an integral part of the platform's offerings, including a dedicated Art Zone space for children. Abu Dhabi Art is sponsored by Bank Julius Baer Co. Ltd.
Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) was created in February 2012 and took on the employees, assets, roles and responsibilities of the former Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage and Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, and included the Cultural Department of Tourism Development & Investment Company. The Authority's objective is to conserve and promote the heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi and develop a world-class destination of distinction.
Julius Baer is the leading Swiss private banking group with a focus on servicing and advising sophisticated private clients and a premium brand in global wealth management. Julius Baer's total client assets amounted to CHF 304 billion at the end of June 2013, with assets under management accounting for CHF 218 billion. Bank Julius Baer & Co. Ltd., the renowned Swiss private bank with origins dating back to 1890, is the principal operating company of Julius Baer Group Ltd., whose shares are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (ticker symbol: BAER) and form part of the Swiss Market Index (SMI) of the 20 largest and most liquid Swiss stocks.
Julius Baer is currently integrating Merrill Lynch's International Wealth Management business outside the US. This will increase the Group's presence to more than 25 countries and 50 locations. Headquartered in Zurich, we have offices from Dubai, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hong Kong, London, Lugano, Madrid, Monaco, Montevideo, Moscow, Shanghai to Singapore. For more information, visit our website at www.juliusbaer.com.
Abu Dhabi Art Venue
UAE Pavilion and Manarat Al Saadiyat
Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi
Hours: from 13 to 22
Tickets on the website www.abudhabiartfair.ae
(official press release)