('Communist sisters – tears of Idealism' by Ling Jian)
Art Dubai is the new name for what started this year as the Dubai International Financial Centre Gulf Art Fair. With DIFC as the key partner, it was natural to include DIFC in the name but when planning the 2008 fair, organisers opted for an easier title.
According to John Martin, the fair director, last year the value of the works on sale was more than $100 million (Dh367m) and about $10m (Dh36.7m) worth of paintings were sold.
“Next year, I assume we’ll exceed that. So much has happened in Dubai in a year – there are several new collectors and they have taken the trouble to visit all the international auctions and fairs. A lot of collectors from Asia, Europe, the United States and the Far East are coming to this fair,” Martin said. In terms of footfall, more than 9,000 people visited the fair this year and the number is expected to double in 2008.
Art Dubai will take place from March 19 to 22 at the Madinat Arena in Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah. About 67 galleries from 31 countries were chosen to participate, selected from more than 350 applications.
Among the international participants are both well-established and relatively new galleries such as Max Lang (New York), Albion (London), Gallery Chemould (Mumbai), Galleria Continua (San Gimignano), SCAI The Bathhouse (Tokyo), Galerie Sfeir-Semler (Hamburg and Beirut), Gallery Espace (New Delhi), Galerie Thomas (Munich), Sundaram Tagore (New York), Kashya Hildebrand (Zurich) and MAM Mario Mauroner (Austria).
New participants include contemporary galleries such as Kukje Gallery (Seoul), Chantal Crousel (Paris), Universal Studios (Beijing), Kamel Mennour (Paris), 100 Tonson (Bangkok), B21 (Dubai), Contrasts Gallery (Shanghai), Silk Road Gallery (Tehran), Galeria Millan (São Paolo), Galería Horrach Moya (Mallorca), Torch Gallery (Amsterdam), Produzentengalerie (Hamburg) and Nina Menocal (Mexico City).
Participation from Dubai’s art galleries will double. This year, only The Third Line Gallery in Al Quoz participated, but next year another Al Quoz gallery, the B21 Progressive Art Gallery, will be involved.
“The first one was an exciting event, even for the galleries that were not participating in the fair. Next year, we want to be part of it,” B21 director Isabelle van den Eynde told Emirates Business.
B21 will show the work of two leading Iranian artists – Ramin Haerizadeh and Khosrow Hassanzadeh as well as Lebanese-born artist Lara Baladi.
The organisers believe the art sold is not an accurate indicator of the business generated at the fair has closed, as sales continue even after the fair. “The galleries come to meet new clients, so looking just at the bottom line for that week is not how you judge the fair’s success,” Benedict Floyd, fair co-founder, said.
OFF THE WALL
The Third Line gallery in Dubai
The gallery represents artists originating from or working in the Middle East. With a regular schedule of art exhibitions that are held both in the gallery warehouse and outside locations, the gallery attempts to create a platform for the furthering of contemporary art in Dubai and surrounding emirates. The goal of the gallery is to create a dialogue and discourse between artists and the people of the region and to serve the growing collector base.
Galleries Direct, Sydney, Australia
The company services clients looking for the world’s best art. It is a modern gallery with interests in providing its clients with advice and a collection of the finest art to choose from. Its advisors brief clients – ranging from art collectors, strategic investors and first-time art buyers – about finding the right artwork. From limited-edition works on paper to rare one-off artworks, the company can locate, evaluate and present clients with their ideal piece of art.
Albion Gallery, London, UK
Albion prides itself by incorporating a major global programme to represent leading international artists, including those from emerging markets. The gallery’s exhibitions provide a world-wide view of social and cultural issues. The roster features artists from many countries.
Max Lang, New York, United States
The gallery specialises in the sale of works of modern and contemporary art and design. It opened in February 2006 in the heart of Chelsea. Max Lang is situated in a freestanding, two-storey, 1,524 sq m building, renovated by Sam Trimble Designs, Inc. The gallery’s 762 sq m exhibition space creates an elegant, light-filled backdrop for the works on view.