The best paintings and installations at Art Dubai 2011
'The New World Map' by El Anatsui
See it at: Mojo Gallery, Serkal Avenue, Al Qouz
A similar work from this Ghanian artist was the clear crowd favourite at the fair last year, so we’re anticipating this will be too. His stunningly large draped works are crafted from found bottle tops and cans and look like trash up close, but step back and you’ll behold a stunning treasure.
‘Indian Girls’ by Swoon
See it at: Stand A28, Gallery LJ, Paris
New York street artist Swoon is famous for her cut-out paper figures appearing in cities, but she’s also an activist: she once got together with friends and ate an inordinate amount of blueberry, cherry and apple pies – red, white and blue – only to vomit them all up over the steps of the Fox News building in New York City.
‘Edge of Critical Density’ by Diana Al-Hadid
See it at: The stand of Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York
Syrian-born, New York-based artist Diana Al-Hadid builds large, imposing architectural sculptures: this one is 8ft tall, crafted from fibreglass, polymer, gypsum, steel, wood and paint, and looks even more gravity-defying in the flesh.
‘Homonymes 3’ by Isabelle Cornaro
See it at: The stand of Galerie Balice Hertling, Paris
This French artist’s sculpture is a generic grey plaster cast of a table piled with mostly mass-produced items. The works are named ‘Homonymes’ (words that are identical in spelling or pronunciation, yet differ in meaning), highlighting the idea of subverting the value system given to objects.
‘Big Oak, Homage to the Shawnee’ by Samia Halaby
See it at: Stand A37, Ayyam Gallery, Dubai/Damascus/Beirut
New York-based Palestinian artist Samia Halaby remains cutting-edge at 74: this piece typifies her abstract works, which, she argues, are as connected to nature and its forms as representational works.
‘Guilty’ by Nadai Ayari
See it at: The stand of Etemad Gallery, Dubai/Tehran
This Tunisian/American artist’s works were produced more than a year ago, but their handling of corruption in Tunisia (albeit with a light, painterly imagination) is particularly topical.
‘Black Sun’ by Shezad Dawood
See it at: Stand A39, The Third Line, Dubai
This work from the British/Pakistani/Indian artist measures 110cm in diameter, and the highly conceptual, simple shape provokes complex thoughts through multiple representation – an eclipse, St John of the Cross, evolution and the Kali Mudra.
‘Cabaret Crusades: The Horror Show File’ by Wael Shawky
See it at: stand B29, Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg/Beirut
Retrospectives of the work of Egyptian artist Wael Shawky will be the highlight of Bidoun Projects programme this year, but before you head there, see this first. The film project traces the Crusades of 1096 to 1099, highlighting the impact that the period had on relations today. This is a shot of a 200-year-old marionette from the Lupi collection in Turin that was used in the film.
‘Free art, free art’ by Patricia Triki
See it at: stand A8, Galerie El Marsa, Tunisia
Galerie is a Tunisian, Paris-based artist, known for her snaps of landscapes and figures that are saturated with pop colours. This one is more muted, but still contains her signature colour injection and distortion of shape.
‘Spoons and Cable’ by Hassan Sharif
See it at: stand A46, Salwa Zeidan Gallery, Abu Dhabi
The founding father of the contemporary UAE art scene, Hassan Sharif is an accomplished painter as well as sculptor. He’s been creating for UAE audiences since the ’70s and often takes common objects and strips them of their original use, turning their function into just ‘being seen’.