“Born in Baghdad in 1973, Adel Abidin currently lives and works between Helsinki and Amman. He explores the complex relationship between art, politics and identity, using a sharp palette of irony and humour to address themes of alienation and marginalization. He has presented his works in video, installation, sculpture and photography extensively throughout the world, notably at the Venice Biennale, the Guangzhou Triennial (Guangzhou, China), the Sharjah Biennial (Sharjah, United Arab Emirates), the Biennale of Sydney (Sydney, Australia), the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art (Helsinki), the Aga Khan Museum (Toronto), the Gwangju Museum of Art (Gwangju, South Korea), the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Humlebæk, Denmark), the MACRO (Rome), the Mori Art Museum (Tokyo) and the Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art (Doha, Qatar).”
The first fair in the Middle East that focuses on furniture design and design objects Design Days Dubai aims “to strengthen greater appreciation and understanding for design as a form of applied arts.”
What I love is that the aesthetic collected is BOLD! The work you see at Design Days Dubai shows no fear when it comes to exploring form and materials. But somehow it still manages to be accessible maybe because it is so over-the-top fantastical that it is the recognizable stuff of our dreams – playful, imaginative, and in many cases, like nothing we have ever seen before in the flesh within our reach.
The Proust Geometrica Chair on display the PF Emirates Interiors. Image from Design Days Dubai.
Visitors at Design Days Dubai. Photo by Siddharth Siva. Image from Design Days Dubai.
The Sharjah Biennial – art work that pushes the envelope with some serious play and dark humour.
And in another desert location down the road, the Sharjah Biennial gathers together incredible established and emerging artists who produce projects that skip over, around and through the artistic expressions of new media, street art and installation like kids at a game of hopscotch. Case in point – this stunning-crazy-brilliant piece by French-Tunisian “calligraffiti” artist El Seed.
For obvious reasons, the work that pools around this intimate Biennial is often about analysis of the politics of body, space, and nation but because the execution is so beautifully rendered the intense work powerfully draws you in through your eyes to open your heart and mind to important issues.
Like Toronto, Dubai is rapidly expanding while exploring what this means for this city that has become an international destination and like Toronto it will be exciting to watch how Dubai grows as a destination for design.