Thursday, 24 November 2016

Gu's Goo - Bananas Are Art!

Those who visited the Abu Dhabi Art may wonder if UAE is taking over the world's banana business. I was going bananas to find another title for this edition of this much anticipated annual art fair that brought amazing art to this part of the world. The venue was just about 20 minutes drive from my studio and home, and there was no way I could have let those bananas rot without once being seen around them with my camera too!

Abu Dhabi Art took place at Manarat AL Saadiyat from November 16-19. There were some brilliant art and lot of food for thought... including lot of Bananas of course!

Gu Dexin, an influential artist from Beijing, whose work consists of thousands of fresh bananas arranged on the floor in a precise rectangle, marked out by urns set on marble pedestals. Visitors were invited to take a banana, eat it, and throw the skin into one of the urns. On the third day of the event as anticipated - the bright yellow fruit turned into a mass of rotting organic rubbish... with onlookers like fruit flies still all over the 'art work' taking their selfies. Gu's goo! Never mind what I call it. Gu impresses anyone who takes a peep at the statement printed and presented near the work (and I have got it below - don't forget to read it). Dexin has achieved global acclaim for his use of perishable materials as a statement about his pessimistic view of humanity. He does not title any of his pieces, which is a reflection of their ephemeral nature but the banana installation is called 'Gateway'. This presentation is curated by Alexandra Munroe, a prominent curator of Asian art and senior adviser of global arts at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum and Foundation.

Scroll down to see the rest of the show... pictures may tell a million words but then don't skip the captions... they are often more than what may spring out of our head as thought bubbles:

Geitani Bassam_Unfold_Mixed Media on Canvas. Profoundly inflected by specific theoretical endeavors, Bassam Geinati's work, spanning across different symbolic orders and layers of representation, is an on-going investigation of materiality and surface. The is artist is born and based in Beirut. Studied art and lived in Paris for 14 years.
Born in Beijing in 1961, Gu Dexin is one of the pioneering presences of the generation that began making contemporary art during the 1980s. His early paintings, watercolors, and embroideries open up fantastic, dystopian worlds of creatures vaguely human, while his conceptual installations involving raw meat and rotting fruit added a new sense of the visceral to an otherwise analytical and symbolic conversation. In 1989, he was among the three Chinese artists to show in “Magiciens de la Terre” at the Pompidou, the first time art from contemporary China had been inserted into a global context. In 2009, frustrated with the art world around him, Gu decided to quit art entirely. Drawn entirely from private collections, and including over eighty works from the Guy and Myriam Ullens Foundation Collection, this exhibition is the first comprehensive attempt to make sense of the multiple strands in Gu’s daring, original, and sophisticated practice.
This is the art note found next to the installation that made people go bananas at the Abu Dhabi Art's 2016 edition.
This one here probably is no art installation (as there was no note beside it) but caught my attention and took me back to my mother's water garden back home full of water lilies. If it is actually an art work... I really would like to know more. 
Jean Dubuffet_La lande joyeuse. Jean Dubuffet, a French painter, printmaker, and sculptor disliked authority from a very early age. He left home at 17, failed to complete his art education, and wavered for many years between painting and working in his father's wine business. He would later be a successful propagandist, gaining notoriety for his attacks on conformism and mainstream culture, which he described as "asphyxiating." He was attracted to the art of children and the mentally ill, and did much to promote their work, collecting it and promulgating the notion of Art Brut. His early work was influenced by that of outsiders, but it was also shaped by the interests in materiality that preoccupied many post-war French artists associated with the Art Informel movement. In the early 1960s, he developed a radically new, graphic style, which he called "Hourloupe," and would deploy it on many important public commissions, but he remains best known for the thick textured and gritty surfaces of his pictures from the 1940s and '50s.
"Personally, I believe very much in values of savagery; I mean: instinct, passion, mood, violence, madness."
- Jean Dubuffet
Sahand Hesamiyan_Gole Ayne_Steel, Mirror Stainless Steel, and Paint. This work reminded me of Bharti Kher's broken mirrors. Sahand Hesamiyan, born in 1977 in Tehran, holds a Bachelor of Sculpture from the Tehran University and currently lives and works in Tehran.

Gordon Cheung_Here Be Dragons_Financial newspaper, archival inkjet, acrylic, sand and pumice on canvas and sail cloth. Do check the video below to see the finesse in 3D.

Seulgi Lee_U: It is drker under the lamp = Cannot see things which are too close_KOrean silk, cotton, collaboration with Nubi, Korean quilt maker Sung-Yeon Cho.
About U in the artists words. "In this continuity, I am working on a collection of blankets which take some proverbs as patterns. My interest goes toward using the oral culture to make something useful as humanity always did. So it’s going to be the blankets « telling » a story. In Korea, many proverbs are calling to pictures. I interpret them as diagram becoming a composition of colors on quilted blankets. This particular technique, one can find at bedding shops as old-fashioned blanket in Korea. The colors are related to the cosmology in Chinese philosophy. I like this idea that the future sleeper, once under this blanket, can be protected. Otherwise people say that sleeping with the head toward one direction is good... 
This sewing technique is originally hand made and can be found around the world, like for example with Amish Quilt, or boutis provençal and piqué marseillais in the south of France. 
Some diagrams therefore are coming from the following proverbs by order," says Lee. 

This mandala carpet is inspired from patterns in the nature and made by Emirati artist and curator Sheikha Wafa Bint Hasher Al Maktoum. Read here more about how she uses patterns from nature to complete her work.  The artist was recently presented with the prestigious Dayawati Modi Award for Art Culture & Education for her outstanding contribution to promoting during Arts for India event held at BAFTA – 195 Piccadilly London on 19th October, 2016. The event was sponsored by the British Film Institute, London, Pinewood Studios, London and the Columbia University School of the Arts, New York. She is the the first recipient of this coveted trophy in the entire Middle East that has previously been handed to the likes of Mother Teresa, Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan and Hollywood Film Actress Goldie Hawn.
Thought this is a very cool recycled chair using the palm!
Sudarshan Shetty_Untitled_Teak Wood. Born in 1961 in Mangalore, India, Sudarshan Shetty lives and works in Mumbai. Shetty initially trained as a painter, later turning to sculpture and installations which now account for all of his output. A conceptual artist, he is renowned for his enigmatic and often mechanised sculptural installations. His hybrid constructions question the fusion of Indian and Western traditions as well as exploring domestic concerns and the notion of movement.
Cesar_Expansion Blue_Resine polyester stratifie et laque/Laminated and lacquered Polyurethane 158x120x18cm. Art auction website artvalue, prices an approximate 30,000-40,000 euros. A founding member of the Nouveaux Réalistes, César (1921-1998) was renowned in Europe for his outlandish sculptures using unorthodox materials (ranging from industrial rubbish to high-tech resins), innovative forms and novel processes. Born César Baldaccini to Italian immigrants in Marseille, the artist is popularly known in France for several iconic works, including a number of monumental public sculptures in Paris. The 40-foot-tall Le Pouce (Thumb), 1965, permanently installed at La Défense, is a bronze blowup of the artist's thumb. Over the years he produced versions of this work in a wide variety of materials and sizes, make several popular examples. 
Gilles Barbeir_Eternity_Mixed Media. This work reminds one of tarring and feathering - a form of public humiliation used to enforce unofficial justice or revenge. It was used in feudal Europe and its colonies in the early modern period, as well as the early American frontier, mostly as a type of mob vengeance.  The aim was to inflict enough pain and humiliation on a person to make him either conform his behavior to the mob's demands or be driven from town.  The image of the tarred-and-feathered outlaw remains a metaphor for public humiliation. Barbier’s works reflect on the darker and more difficult themes of ageing and the collapse of dreams and ideals. 
Louay Kayyali_The Match Seller_Oil. Kayyali was a Syrian modern artist who graduated from Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, he is known in portrait, nature & flower paintings. This work is oil on masonite chip board and was produced in 1974. His psychological state is often linked to his interest in subjects related to the struggle of the common man. He suffered from depression and died in 1978 from burns incurred from his bed catching fire, reportedly from a cigarette.
Rakan Dabdoub_Architectural figure_Oil on board. Rakan Dabdoub is an Iraqi visual artist who was born in 1930. Several works by the artist have been sold at auction, including 'Untitled' sold at Christie's Dubai 'Modern & Contemporary Arab, Iranian & Turkish Art' in 2014 for $21,250. 

Muntean/Rosenblum_Untitled (They have a curios way...)_Black and White Crayon, Acrylic on Canvas_268x387cm. Muntean and Rosenblum (Markus Muntean; born 1962 in Graz, Austria and Adi Rosenblum; born 1962 in Haifa, Israel) are artists based in Vienna and London. They have been collaborating since 1992. They work in a variety of media, but their most characteristic work involves painted formal compositions, with comic book style captions, of teenage models from fashion magazines. The Guardian critic Jonathan Jones described the effect as "Andy Warhol meets Jacques-Louis David". The pictures of Muntean/Rosenblum are characterized by references to the way we perceive things today, which is influenced by the media, advertising, film and popular culture. These belong to a lifestyle-oriented society where youth is a marketable commodity and “being young” has become an instrument of permanent self-control. The magazines cooperate with specialists in affective image production, appropriating forms that used to stand for protest, utopia and delimitation, as well as allegorical themes and subjects from art history.
Muntean/Rosenblum_Untitled (How simply they seemed...) Oil on Canvas. The artist duo were represented by Galeria Horrach Moya from Spain.
Kim Duck-Yong_The Book - The moment of meditation_Mixed media on wood (mother of pearl).

Zeinab Al Hashemi_Dubai Series II_Digital Scenography. This art work brought to Abu Dhabi by Dubai's Cudro Fine Art gallery reminded me of the recent Dr Strange movie. Strange!
Tian Wei_Tobe - or not to be, ed. of 8_Stainless steel. Tian Wei was born in Xi’an, the first imperial capital of China, and original starting point of the Silk Road, which played a seminal role in linking East and West together in a complex network of trade and reciprocal exchange. Tian Wei left China for Hawaii, in 1986, to pursue a career in the arts. Upon completing his MFA in Hawaii, 1990, he subsequently settled in California. After years of travelling back and forth between America and China, he has been based in Beijing since 2011.  Both theoretically and formally, Tian Wei’s work constructs a bridge between things that appear as dyadic opposites, binary poles or complementary pairs. This perspective of Yin and Yang is deeply embedded in Chinese thinking, and the artist’s frequent reference to Classic texts such as the I Ching (The Book of Changes) and Tao Te Ching appear as quotations in minute script patterning the background upon which larger semi-abstract cursive shapes are drawn. What fascinates me most is that there can always be a switching – perhaps even a continuity - between both sides.’ Tian Wei’s artistic vision is not one that divides or separates the East from the West but one that integrates both, and for this reason it is both timely – and timeless.
Marc Quinn_The Eye of History - Desert Perspective_Oil on canvas_200cm diameter. British artist Marc Quinn's works deals with art and science, the human body and the perception of beauty. His series of Irises offering different perspectives (Desert, America etc).

Henry Matisse_Tete_Pen and ink on paper

Henri Matisse_Femme a la voilette (Woman in veil)_Pen and ink on paper
Henri Matisse_Femme a l ombrelle (Woman in umbrella)_Oil on canvas

Edgar Degas_Le ballet (The ballet)_Oil on panel

Anish Kapoor's works were a part of Galleria Continua
There are plenty more images in my camera and artists I would have loved to mention here, but...

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Thank you for reading and staying amused! :)

PS: Organised by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), this annual art fair takes place under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. It is UAE capital’s flagship annual art event. This time was its eighth edition and feature works of artists from 20 countries via industry representation through participating 40 galleries.

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