First established in Forte Dei Marmi, Italy in June this year, OBLONG Contemporary Gallery has recently found another home in Dubai’s Bluewaters Island, marking the first art gallery to be located on the island destination, serving as a platform for cultural exchange with a special focus on sculpture work.
On show for two months, the gallery’s inaugural exhibition entitled The Nascence features 25 sculpture works by world-renowned artists such as Polish artist Igor Mitoraj, Italy-born Stefano Bombardieri, Uruguayan artist Pablo Atchugarry and American artist Robert Indiana.
Highlights of the group exhibition include a bronze work by Costa Rican sculptor Jimenez Deredia entitled Encanto (2017), Juno (2017) by Spanish artist Manolo Valdés and Looking for the Dance, Untitled 34 (2010) by Choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov, to name a few. Also of note is Gullwing 300 SL – Col Rosá (2014) by Rovigo-born artist Enrico Ghinato, an oil on canvas piece which strikingly resembles a photographic image, a skill Ghinato is renowned for. Other artists represented by the gallery include Giuseppe Veneziano, Fabrizio Plessi, Mario Arlati, Gustavo Velez and Antonio Nocera.
OBLONG shines a light on prominent artists from a small Tuscan town called Pietrasanta, a place dotted with art galleries and renowned for its marble and bronze workshops. Nearby to the Apuan Alps, this is where Michelangelo would come to handpick marble blocks for his creations, which has since influenced an army of sculptors to visit the area. The town has since been associated with the ghost of Michelangelo.
The gallery has gained well-deserved attention since the opening.
Dress Memory. 2005. Fibre and resin. 90x80cm
In addition to showcasing famed works from Pietrasanta, the gallery will host a range of workshops, educational initiatives and an art exchange program between Dubai and Pietrasanta. In conjunction with Dubai Design Week, OBLONG hosted a pop-up solo exhibition by Italian artist Carla Tolomeo at the gallery. Tolomeo is famed for her colourful sculptural chairs, which may be described as “functional pieces of art.” The gallery was also home to various talks on the thin link between design and art, in the presence of world-renowned architects and designers from the region.
An installation view of OBLONG Contemporary Gallery
OBLONG Contemporary Gallery is located at R29 Bluewaters Boulevard at Bluewaters Island
Images courtesy of Ajith Narendra; ITP images
From Harper's Bazaar Arabia Art Winter 2019 issue