A Still Life Retrospective: inside the new exhibition at Alserkal Avenue

Crazy foxes, fruit bowls and everything in between…

A Still Life Retrospective: inside the new exhibition at Alserkal Avenue

There’s a new exhibition coming to Dubai that transforms everyday objects into something truly spectacular.

Paintings of flowers and fruit might not seem like anything new, but Fernando Botero has a knack for bringing still – arguable mundane – objects and people to life in a style that is instantly recognisable.

Perhaps most notable for inflating his subjects into distorted sizes, Botero will be bringing his bloated and voluptuous characters to the Custot Gallery at Alserkal Avenue – and they might just cause you to look twice.

These fantastic scenes of everyday moments will sit alongside still life works representing flowers, fruit and musical instruments in a 30-piece strong exhibition that will give you some food for thought.

The exhibition, called A Still Life Retrospective, opens to the public on Monday, November 12 right up until Sunday, February 12, 2019 from 10am until 7pm daily.

Through the collection, Botero pays tribute to the Old Master paintings he studied as an aspiring artist in Europe during the 1950s.

The play of proportions and the distortion of volumes in his work marked a turning point in his career, and in 1956 Botero painted Still Life With Mandolin, the very incarnation of his interest in the age-old still-life painting style.

Born in 1932, in Medellín, Colombia, the figurative artist put on his first retrospective in 1970 in Germany at museums in Baden-Baden, Berlin, Dusseldorf and Hamburg.

His work is currently held in museum collections around the world, including The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, The Baltimore Museum of Art in Maryland and Neue Pinakothek in Munich, Germany – and now we get to see it in Dubai.

Another exhibition currently on show at Alserkal is of a somewhat different ilk.

Adapt to Survive: Notes from the Future is a collaboration with the Hayward Gallery, London, bringing together pieces by seven international artists who imagine how our world might look and feel in the future.

Engaging with the idea that adaptation is necessary for survival, the artists present films, sculpture and text-based works that explore ideas of change and hybrid forms of architecture, biology, technology, and language. It all sounds a bit Twilight Zone to us (but in the best possible way).

The exhibition is being displayed at Concrete until Wednesday, November 21 and if there’s anything we love, it’s delving into the  theory of evolution.

“Concrete was envisioned as a space to host international, museum-grade exhibitions that support cultural understanding”, said Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, founder of Alserkal Avenue and Concrete.

“This collaboration with the Hayward Gallery, London, brings to the UAE diverse views of our shared future, creating a foundation for an imperative discourse around sustainability and futurology, subjects that are now central to our rapidly-changing world.”

Taking its title from the phrase adopted recently by the business sector, Adapt to Survive explores the idea that Darwin’s theory of evolution can serve as a metaphor for a future-facing strategy for survival and growth.

We don’t know about all that, but we certainly wouldn’t want to meet that fox (pictured) down a dark alley.
A Still Life Retrospective: until Feb 2019, 10am-7pm. Custot Gallery. Adapt to Survive: Notes from the Future: until Wed Nov 21, 10am-7pm. Concrete, Alserkal Avenue, www.alserkalavenue.ae (050 556 9797).

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