We’re excited for the cutting edge work making its way to Unseen Amsterdam 2017 and in this week’s Gallery Spotlight we explore galleries from further across the globe, in the Middle East. With the contemporary art scene booming in this region, we are delighted to host galleries who are stimulating and supporting the careers of both local and international emerging artists.
In this feature we travel to three galleries, each from countries that are at the forefront of artistic innovation in the Middle East. The galleries we delve into this week are East Wing (Dubai, UAE), Ag Galerie (Tehran, Iran), and Galerie Janine Rubeiz (Beirut, Lebanon).
Returning gallery since 2012, East Wing focuses on initiating new dialogues on innovative artistic practice. Based in Dubai they curate and commission contemporary photographic projects from the Middle East and internationally. The gallery represents both emerging and established talents whose projects reflect on and challenge existing viewpoints. This year they will be showing work from Phenomena Collective (DK), formed by three artists Tobias Selnaes Markussen, Sara Galbiati and Peter Helles Eriksen. Their project, Phenomena investigates the believers of UFO’s in Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico in an anthropological way, dissecting every element into why and what leads these individuals to be so sure about the existence of other life, striving to achieve an understanding of their faith.
Photo: Mission for CIA, from the series Phenomena, 2015 © Sara Galbiati, Peter Helles Eriksen & Tobias Selnaes Markussen/East Wing
A relatively new space based in Tehran, Iran, Ag Galerie is dedicated to showing contemporary photography and video by established Iranian artists. Their prime focus lies in supporting and creating an artistic dialogue between Iranian and international artists. Amongst other artists, this year they will be showing the work of Parnian Ferdossi (IR), a visual artist and researcher based in London who examines the way photography relates to social theories such as urbanism. The work she is showing at Unseen Amsterdam 2017 is I, travel. The project looks at the way in which geographical, political and environmental borders are constituted, revealing their artificiality in people’s lives.
Photo: Untitled, from the series This Passport Contains 40 Pages, 2016 © Parnian Ferdossi/Ag Galerie
Galerie Janine Rubeiz
Representing modern and contemporary Lebanese artists, Galerie Janine Rubeiz finds its roots in the important heritage of ”Dar El Fan”, the multi-cultural platform founded and run by Janine Rubeiz, from 1967 until 1992. The gallery stands out with its historical presentation from generations of Lebanese artists. Their collection holds over 900 artworks covering a historical stretch of Lebanese art. Lara Tabet will be exhibiting her premiering work, Underbelly this year at Unseen Amsterdam. The project follows the trail of an imagined serial killer in the city of Beirut, loosely based on Roberto Bolaño’s detective novel 2666. In this posthumously published work, Bolaño chronicles the murder of one hundred and twelve women in Santa Teresa and the fruitless police investigation that stems from it. As the bodies pile up, what comes through is the vision of a city riddled by an underlying evil. Transposing the general framework of the novel to Beirut, the project ventures into the city’s outskirts, proposing a vision of the city at night through a fictional narrative of unsolved murders.
Photo: Untitled #4, from the series Underbelly, 2017 © Lara Tabet/Galerie Janine Rubeiz