Nahyan bin Mubarak Inaugurates The Creative Act: Performance, Process,
Presence, Second Exhibition from The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi
and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Organised by
Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority
All India, 8th March 2017: Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, HE Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, inaugurated The Creative Act: Performance, Process, Presence exhibition, organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) at Manarat Al Saadiyat on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. The inauguration was also attended by HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman, TCA Abu Dhabi, HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General, TCA Abu Dhabi, and HE Mansour Al Mansouri, Director General of National Media Council, and TCA Abu Dhabi Board Member. Featuring works by more than 25 artists from different nationalities and generations, the exhibition explores the related themes of performance, process, and presence through a variety of mediums. Running until 29 July 2017, The Creative Act is the second major exhibition of works from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection.
HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of TCA Abu Dhabi, said: “The Creative Act: Performance, Process, Presence includes artworks that inspire audiences, and it serves as a catalyst for personal and collective inspiration as well as creativity by giving the public further insight into the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection, and its curatorial narrative.”
“With this exhibition, our community engagement programme will continue to establish an interactive dialogue between Abu Dhabi and the world, and in the process, build on Abu Dhabis own unique cultural characteristic around its urban, contemporary landscapes.” He added.
Three distinct yet interconnected themes of the exhibition – performance, process, and presence – provide a unifying framework for the exhibition, with many artists exploring more than one theme in the works on view:
Performance can be represented in several different forms: unfolding live in a given time and place, remaining afterward as recordings and documentations, or serving primarily as the means for creating discrete objects. The Creative Act features examples of live actions that constitute works in and of themselves and performative practices that result in drawings, paintings, sculptures, and videos. A selection of photographs document the renowned Emirati artist Hassan Sharif‘s 1980s performances, which he realised in both London and Dubai. His conceptual, experimental, and performative practice greatly influenced the subsequent generation of artists in the United Arab Emirates, such as Mohammed Kazem, who is also featured in The Creative Act.
Many of the artworks offer insight into the process used to make them. A key work within this section is Anish Kapoor‘s My Red Homeland (2003), a monumental sculptural installation composed of nearly twenty-five tonnes of red wax with a mechanical arm that circumnavigates the platform, continually altering the surface as it moves across the material. Works by pioneering 1960s experimental art practitioners including Rasheed Araeen, Julio Le Parc, Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Tinguely, Günther Uecker, and Jacques Villegle, explore the process of creating with everyday materials and using performative techniques.
The theme of human presence is highlighted through artworks that involve the appearance of the artist or others in the works as well as visible traces of the physical acts undertaken to realise them. Paintings by artists affiliated with the Gutai Art Association (1954-72) including Motonaga Sadamasa, Shiraga Kazuo, and Tanaka Atsuko epitomise these ideas. Video installations by Susan Hefuna and Anri Sala take the performing arts-dance and music respectively – and the theme of interpretation as points of departure. Autobiography (03-07) (2007), a series of forty photographs and a video, captures Emirati artist Ebtisam Abdulaziz‘s performances in various public spaces in Sharjah and examines the often complex relationship between social and personal identities.
In line with the commitment of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi to support original work by living artists, TCA Abu Dhabi has commissioned artists, Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian to create an installation inspired by the core themes of The Creative Act. Another Happy Day (2016-17) is a multiroom, immersive installation featuring artworks by the commissioned artists and others, which, like the selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection, probe the nature of the creative artistic process while inviting visitors to become engaged and activated. This project, coupled with photographs by Tarek Al-Ghoussein, part of a series commissioned by TCA Abu Dhabi for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection, offers a convergence of past, present, and future in our own time.
The Creative Act: Performance, Process, Presence is curated by Valerie Hillings Ph.D., Curator and Manager of Curatorial Affairs, Sasha Kalter-Wasserman, Assistant Curator, with Sara Dwider, Curatorial Assistant, Abu Dhabi Project, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; and Maisa Al Qassimi, Programmes Manager – Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, with Muneera Al Sayegh, Programmes Officer – Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.
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