Friday, June 26, 2009

Galleries Galore at DIFC

Ah. Trust me to love a little recess to a perfectly polished corporate art 'zone' with outdoor air conditioning. The truth is- DIFC's art zone actually houses some of the most serious art galleries in Dubai and about the only permanent International gallery : Opera. A friend and I took a stroll down...


While Opera is my all-time favourite for it's collection of seriously quirky Latin American, Japanese and European art, I also enjoy Cuadro which is currently hosting graffiti legends Phil Frost, Futura and Stash's first foray into canvas pieces.

To be honest Futura and Stash's works were seriously disappointing...

But Phil Frost's cut-out faces and layered canvas techniques were fresh pieces that would look equally comfortable in a living room or gallery...(note the baseball bats hanging at the edge of the canvas'...perfectly camoflaged!)

There were also some really graphic pieces done by French artists Francois Semiramoth, Benedetta Segala and Muriel Napoli as part of Cuadro's exchange program with France entitled ' For Them' which donates the proceeds of the sales to Dubai Autism Centre.
Of course I can't forget the uber-realistic life-size wax sculptures of the tourist with a digital camera, security guards and the cleaning lady. Wish I knew the name of the sculptor. Help anyone?
And last but not least was the massive chess board with palm-sized bronze sculptures of Africans vs. Egyptians.


Opera was missing the massive Manga dolls this time- which I am assuming means they were bought or burnt for their racy appearances.

I love visiting Opera mainly to ogle the wide range of Latin American exhibits, as well as being able to touch and smell the paper and bronze of masters Picasso, Chagall and Botero. This time the work of Latin American artist Romero Britto's caught my eye. His cutesy-pie sculptures are to die for. They just make you happy! That's the only way I can describe the effect these cartooned pop-colored objets-d'art have on you! Absolutely adorable stuff. If you can afford 50,000 dirhams for one...

Federico Uribe makes sculptural art from everyday objects. His gorgeous busts make you wonder why you didn't think to hit the mega bucks by sticking nails, cardboard or pencil shavings all over wax models. But that said, they really are beautiful. Uribe's real masterpieces though are the 'pencil paintings' he created using actual color pencils to make up the 'pixels' of the piece- all at varying height so it has a 3-dimensional feel. I saw these at Opera a couple of months ago but didn't get time to post them...

Feng Zheng Jie's wall-sized airbrushed spooky techni-color pieces that also feature at the Saatchi Gallery are really astounding to look at. These are really striking pieces but they definitely aren't for everyone. One of the most impressive pieces has been hanging in the gallery since the gallery opened it's doors last years. It maybe, perhaps, a bit premature to introduce art of this sophistication to this market...

Den Hartog's balancing leopard was quite a mindf****. How does it balance?(Keep in mind that this is a solid bronze sculpture about the length of my arm.

And of course my favourite Gautier ladiiieesssss...

I could go on...but I won't. Well not for much longer anyway.

There was an extremely trippy piece there with a backlit luminecent blue light and a lace overlay on a holographic image of a woman's closed eyes. I could swear it moved we walked past it several times to make sure it wasn't some sort of optical illusion.

My favourite piece of the entire gallery though was a very 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' scribbly wall-sized piece without a sticker or placard bearing the artist's name. Tsk tsk.

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