Dubai’s Alserkal Arts Foundation Is Reimagining An Exhibition From The Fifties You Won’t Want To Miss

BY Ayesha Sohail Shehmir Shaikh / Sep 4 2019 / 09:52 AM

The foundation has collaborated with London’s Whitechapel Gallery to showcase hybrid works of architecture and art

Dubai’s Alserkal Arts Foundation Is Reimagining An Exhibition From The Fifties You Won’t Want To Miss
Courtesy Tatiana Bilbao Estudio
Tatiana Bilbao Estudio. Collage drawing for Mind Garden, Heart Garden. 2018

London-based Whitechapel Gallery launched This Is Tomorrow on High Street in 1956, an exhibition that was envisioned by architect and critic Theo Crosby, uniting 38 artists and architects including Scottish sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi and Hungarian-born architect and furniture designer Ernő Goldfinger.

Now, expanding on the vision of the original exhibition, Alserkal Arts Foundation has joined forces with Whitechapel Gallery to present Is This Tomorrow?, an exhibition launching this November in Dubai, featuring four collaborations between renowned artists and architects including visual artist Rana Begum and former winner of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Marina Tabassum.

6a architects and Amalia Pica. Enclosure. 2018. Courtesy 6a architects and Amalia Pica

Featured works will include Mind Garden, Heart Garden (2018), a collage drawing by Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao, referencing the instinctive need for us to be alone yet together and Phoenix Will Rise (2018), a collaborative site-specific work in progress by Begum and Tabassum which was originally presented at Whitechapel and will specially be iterated for The Yard, Alserkal Avenue.

“It is a place of refuge - a space for reflection and contemplation,” says Tabassum. “The highlight of the installation is Rana Begum’s beautiful art piece around the central oculus that catches light and frames the sky. The architecture builds around it to create a setting and atmosphere of repose, all the while appropriating the context Alserkal Avenue.”

Rana Begum Test samples for Phoenix Will Rise. 2018. Spray paint on paper. Courtesy Rana Begum

The four pairings will comprise Amalia Pica and 6a, Cao Fei and Mono Office, Mariana Castillo Deball and Tatiana Bilbao Estudio, and Rana Begum and Marina Tabassum Architects.

Ultimately, the interdisciplinary installations depict the potential of collaborating on art and architecture practises to craft evocative masterpieces that shed light on the power of sharing ideas and skill sets.

The Dubai iteration of Is This Tomorrow? is a collaboration between Alserkal Arts Foundation and Whitechapel Gallery, London. The exhibition is co-commissioned by Whitechapel Gallery, London and MAAT, Lisbon.

Is This Tomorrow? Is on show from 6 November until 23 November 2019 at Concrete, Alserkal Avenue

Watch: Sima Performing Arts Opens In Dubai's Alserkal Avenue