Performing and Visual Arts from Around the Globe, Abu Dhabi Art's Fifth Edition Presents the Broadest-Ever Spectrum of Modern, Contemporary Art and Design

Performing arts programme Durub Al Tawaya, a new section Artists’ Waves, an architecture statement and a curated exhibition focusing on participant galleries works all debut in 2013

November 18, 2013 Abu Dhabi | Under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Abu Dhabi Art (20 – 23 November) offers audiences even more dynamic artworks, panel discussions, public performances, design elements and programming in the platform’s five-year history. | Performing and Visual Arts from Around the Globe Abu Dhabi Art Fifth Edition Presents the        Broadest-Ever Spectrum of Modern Contemporary Art and Design Visitors at Abu Dhabi Art 2013 Preview
Artwork details: Frank Stella, La Penne di Hu, 1984Mixed media on etched magnesium, aluminium and canvas, 237.1 x 304.8 x 167 cm
©Frank Stella and Galerie Enrico Navarra

Image Courtesy: Hesmerg Photography

Held at the UAE Pavilion and Manarat Al Saadiyat on Saadiyat Island, the fifth edition welcomes 50 galleries (a 91% return rate) from around the world, exhibiting modern, contemporary art and design and features its most diverse programme to date, addressing key ideas in the art and design sector.

A new section of Abu Dhabi Art titled Artists’ Waves, focuses on the discovery and re-discovery of artists through an exhibition that reflects the dynamism of new artistic movements and shifting perceptions. A discourse on the function of the conventional art fair platform, the artists’ works in this section is determined by curator instead of galleries, and the artists become the reason for the galleries inclusion in the fair.

Reflecting elements of the UAE’s tradition and heritage, Abu Dhabi Art houses the ADA architecture statement, a specially-constructed Design Souq by architect Shigeru Ban, while the debut of the Durub Al Tawaya performing arts programme extends beyond Saadiyat Island, with artistic interventions and performances in Abu Dhabi, highlighting the increasing maturity of the city’s artistic landscape.

“Abu Dhabi Art reflects for this year the traditions and heritage of the UAE as well as the capital increasing maturity as a cultural destination. This year’s edition helps us to realise our mission of making performing and visual arts more accessible to an increasingly broad audience. As we expand the Abu Dhabi Art platform and extend it to growing audiences, we underscore the vital role that arts and culture plays in the UAE,” said His Excellency Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, organisers of Abu Dhabi Art.

The new performing arts programme, Durub Al Tawaya curated by Tarek Abou El Fetouh, presents a cultural journey into the city of Abu Dhabi across four specific locations, creating a special route. Audiences are invited to follow paths on public buses turned into ‘contemporary art installations’ by artists from the UAE and abroad – to several outdoor, communal spaces transformed by performances and workshops. Its diversity of artists, poets, performers and arts organisations include Ho Tzu Nyen, Zeinab Al Hashimy,Wael Shawky, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov Rayyane Tabet, Hiroaki Umeda, Selma & Sofiane Ouissi, 98 Weeks, Contemporary Image Collective, Afra Al Dahri, Salem Al Qasimi, Dima El Atab, Hamdan Al Shamsi, as well as Aita Ben Masaaoud, Nora Noman, Hadeyeh Badri, Hala Al-Ani, Riem Hassan, and the UAE Writers Union.

Art, Talks and Sensations: Dunes and Waves, under the artistic direction of Fabrice Bousteau, will ‘open up’ a larger and more permeated outdoor setting for live art, music and screenings, inspired by the UAE’s landscape and the lines of the Lord Norman Foster–designed UAE Pavilion. The scale of contemporary art is explored and experienced through Small is Beautiful, a curated, exhibition within Art, Talks and Sensations, of 42 modestly-sized pieces from leading artists selected from galleries participating in Abu Dhabi Art including Jean Michel Basquiat, Subodh Gupta, Jacques Villeglé, Dia Azzawi, Martin Creed, Yao Jui Chung and Erwin Wurm. At the other end of the spectrum, Wurm’s work will also join the likes of Hassan Sharif and Random International as part of the Beyond section for galleries which this year presents 11 monumental sculptures at Manarat Al Saadiyat.

Emirati art shines throughout Abu Dhabi Art with a large number of works exhibited this year as well as throughout the extensive programme and galleries including Mohammed Kazem, Hassan Sharif, Abdul Qader Al Rais, Dr. Najat Makki, Fatema Al Mazrouie, Abdullah Al Saadi, Ebtisam Abdul Aziz, Layla Juma, Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim, Sara Al Haddad, Abdul Qader Al Rais, Hussain Sharif and Sheikha Alyazia Nahyan Al Nahyan.


Highlights from the public programme include:

  • An art and architecture panel featuring conceptual artist Jenny Holzer; architect Jean Nouvel; Alain Seban, President of the Pompidou Centre in Paris and gallerist Thaddaeus Ropac to discuss the critical role of these disciplines through the vision and life-blood of global cities.
  • A parallel presentation of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi: Talking Art Series, on themes such as Pop Art and the Mediated Image; System, Process, Concept; and History, Memory, Narrative discussed by participating artists Angela Bulloch, Yang Fudong, Heinz Mack, Marwan, Hassan Sharif and Monika Sosnowska, whose works have been included in the museum’s collection.
  • A series of films by the Sharjah Art Foundation Film Programme, curated by the foundation’s Director Hoor Al-Qasimi titled ‘Where are the Arabs?’. Films by Joanna Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, , Rania Stephan, Samah Hijawi and Jayce Salloum among many others, are responses to the evolving socio-economic and political situations throughout Arab cities.
  • A special Architecture statement by legendary Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, whose mobile structure is inspired by the environment, the culture and heritage of Abu Dhabi and its architectural roots and aspirations. Ban’s work houses the Design Souq, where designers and artisans share their practice through a number of presentations, workshops and commissioned projects; including Mohammad Al Mandi, Mohammed Abedin, Nazzy Beglari, Nasir Nasrallah, Aljoud Lootah, Janeth Quintanilla, Azza Al Qubaisi, Francois Clerc with students from Center for Architecture, Art and Design at AUS and artisans of Intangible Cultural Heritage from the Culture Sector of the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi). The design programme also sheds light on UAE traditional craft as it is re-interpreted into contemporary forms through new technologies and concepts.

Abu Dhabi Art, organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, is an annual platform for modern and contemporary art and design, held from 20-23 November 2013. 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.