What to expect at Art Dubai 2022: new collaborative partnerships and NFTs

For its 15th event, the fair has partnered with Abu Dhabi institutions and a cryptocurrency exchange Bybit

DUBAI, UAE. March 19, 2015 - Artworks by Alexander Gorlizki on display at the Jhaveri contemporary booth at Art Dubai art festival at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai, March 19, 2015. (Photos by: Sarah Dea/The National, Story by: Anna Seaman, Arts and Life)
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After a scaled-down affair last year, Art Dubai is hoping for a strong comeback with new partnerships and commissioned works, along with a focus on crypto art.

The fair has announced more details on its 15th event, which returns to its usual venue at Madinat Jumeirah. Previews will take place on March 9 and 10, while public days will run from March 11 to 13.

A new partnership between Art Dubai, Warehouse421 and the Salama Bint Hamdan Emerging Artist Fellowship will culminate in an exhibition on Seaf’s eight-year history. Curated by Maryam Al Dabbagh and Mays Albaik, the show will include painting, textile, video and photography, and will consider notions of collective memory.

This year, another partnership has entered the fold. Singapore cryptocurrency exchange Bybit is helping Art Dubai’s NFT push with Bybit Talks, a programme that aims to provide more insight into digital media, NFTs and cryptocurrency.

Speakers include Tamas Banovich, co-founder of Postmasters, a New York gallery that has presented digital works since the 1980s; Seth Goldstein, co-founder of the Decentralised Autonomous Organisation Bright Moments; and Jenn Ellis, co-founder of Aora Space, a virtual platform for art.

Although the online world and NFTs are the focus of the new Art Dubai Digital, in-person exhibitions will still be seen at the fair.

Curated by Chris Fussner, director of the Tropical Futures Institute in Cebu in the Philippines, the section includes 17 galleries and platforms.

It features pieces by Refik Anadol (represented by Pilevneli gallery), a Turkish-American artists whose work visualises data sets; Georgian artist Uta Bekaia, who performs in wearable sculptures, and Denis Davydov, who works with generative graphics (both represented by Window Project gallery).

Art Dubai Digital will also include presentations by Institut, Bright Moments, Fingerprints DAO and Cyber Baat.

Russian artist Marina Fedorova will present her immersive installation COSMODREAMS, which looks at technology’s impact on the environment and people.

The work, which blends painting and sculpture with augmented and virtual reality, was previously shown at the Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art in St Petersburg. Visitors will be able to use their smartphones to interact with the artist’s futuristic visuals that transport viewers to a dystopian world.

This year, Campus Art Dubai has also gone digital, and an exhibition of NFTs featuring 12 artists from the UAE and abroad will be shown.

Among Art Dubai’s commissions for 2022 is INLAND by Madrid-born artist Fernando Garcia-Dory. Combining elements of archaeology, hydrology and urbanism, the work, titled Sand Flow, will explore the Middle East’s heritage and Dubai’s history.

INLAND is Garcia-Dory’s arts collective, started in 2009 as a way for artists to come together on themes of territory, culture and social change.

Meanwhile, an interactive video installation that simulates raindrops and fog, by light artist James Clar, will be shown at the Julius Baer lounge.

The fair will also host two other talks in March. Themed This is the Picture, the 15th Global Art Forum will focus on various crypto worlds, currency, art, gaming, the metaverse and Web3. The programme will feature filmmaker Hito Steyerl, composer Holly Herndon and artist and researcher Mat Dryhurst, plus crypto collectors Guy Ullens and Ryan Zurrer.

Outside of the digital realm is Art Dubai Modern Talks, which will take place from March to 12. Collaborating with the Dubai Collection, which had its first exhibition this year, the programme will delve into the lives and works of 20th century artists from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

Speakers include Nima Sagharchi, director of Middle Eastern, Islamic and South Asian Art at auction house Bonhams, and curators Sam Bardaouil and Munira Al Sayegh.

Art Dubai 2022 will welcome 100 exhibitors, with 30 at the fair for the first time.

Art Dubai will take place at Madinat Jumeirah from March 11 to 13. More information is available at artdubai.ae

Art Dubai 2021 - in pictures

Updated: March 08, 2022, 11:39 AM