Abu Dhabi Art: A sit down with Gazelli Art House

Mila Askarova, director of Gazelli Art House, a gallery with locations in London and Baku and a booth at this year’s Abu Dhabi Art. Courtesy of Daniel Alea
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Gazelli Art House is a gallery with locations in London and Baku. It supports a wide range of international artists. In 2015, the gallery launched its Digital Art House www.gazell.io, an online residency for artists working in the digital and virtual reality realm. This is their third time at Abu Dhabi Art and here we catch up with Mila Askarova, the gallery's founder.

Q: Why do you choose to take part in Abu Dhabi Art, as opposed to other fairs in the region (i.e. Art Dubai)?

Over the past few years that we have been taking part in Abu Dhabi Art, we have witnessed a great response from the local audience and visitors to the fair that has been growing steadily with every year. Having the gallery in Baku, which is currently going under renovations and is due to open next spring, it is important for us to maintain these relationships in the region and nurture new ones. Art Dubai attracts a different type of audience and we are hoping to start showing there as well in the coming years.

Q: What is your opinion of the collector base in Abu Dhabi?

There seems to be genuine interest in contemporary arts and a great combination between novice collectors and those that have been collecting for some time. Due to our mixed program, it works out well in that we can offer advice to both of these groups of people, and suggest works fitting their interest - both in terms of exposure and price.

Q: Do you choose your artists based on your opinion of collectors in the UAE?

Initially this was our thinking. Some artists got more interest than others and we therefore continued bringing new works by these artists the following years. Having said that, we still aim to introduce new artists to the region and as a result the selection is always a combination of artists that have been supported in the region in the past and those that are being exhibited for the very first time.

Q:. Your artists Aziz + Cucher have been chosen to represent in the Beyond section; how important is that for the promotion of your artists and the understanding of your gallery’s programme?

We are very pleased with the selection that Fabrice Bousteau has made for this year’s Beyond section. In the past editions, when gallery artists Saad Qureshi and Giovanni Ozzola were selected for Abu Dhabi Art Artists’ Waves in 2013, it certainly helped with the exposure of the artists but also, and perhaps more importantly, it provided a different context to the works, which at times is missed or unclear in any fair setting.

With this year’s selection, a 7-channel video titled ‘Time of the Empress’ by Aziz+Cucher, we are hoping it will reinforce the artists’ presence in the region. The work itself is a very important piece, which was displayed at the gallery during their solo show in 2014, and was derived from the artists’ ‘Some People; exhibition at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2012. It was also with Aziz+Cucher that we have reopened the Baku gallery in 2012, so there is a lot of significance for all of us in this placement, for which we are very grateful.

* www.gazelliarthouse.com