“Glacier Dreams”, Swiss Wealth Manager Julius Baer’s commission at Art Dubai 2023 is a groundbreaking new project by the internationally acclaimed new media artist, director and pioneer in aesthetics of data and machine intelligence, Refik Anadol. Inspired by the beauty and fragility of the world’s glaciers, , the work will unfold in multiple chapters and locations, making its debut as an immersive room at Art Dubai.
Refik Anadol, Glacier Dreams, 2023, (C) Refik Anadol Studios
“Glacier Dreams” is an immersive audio-visual installation with an olfactory component. In creating the work, Refik Anadol will process a dataset of visual materials from online and institutional archives along with personally-collected glacier visuals, through machine learning algorithms.
Refik Anadol said: “As an artist creating AI Data Paintings and Sculptures based on nature-themed datasets for almost a decade, I am very excited to be taking my Studio’s research to the next level by compiling a comprehensive visual dataset on the glaciers of the world. With this large-scale project and the consequent artwork, we are hoping to not only generate poetic glacier-themed experiences but to also use our existing AI tools to contribute to glacier research and raise awareness about climate change and rising sea levels.”
Guests of the 16th edition of Art Dubai will experience “Glacier Dreams” in the Julius Baer Lounge from 3 to 5 March 2023.
“Glacier Dreams” is the first activation of the ‘NEXT’ initiative, launched by Swiss Wealth Manager Julius Baer in December 2022 designed to foster collaboration between forward-thinking artists and institutions committed to new forms of cultural production at the vanguard of scientific research and technological development. The initiative is supported by Serpentine London.
Developed in collaboration with a broad range of local and international cultural partners, the expanded programme reaffirms Art Dubai’s role as the meeting point for the Global South’s creative industries and communities. Highlights of the 2023 programme will include new site-specific commissions and premieres by internationally renowned artists, presented in partnership with the region’s leading institutions. The programme will also feature an ambitious and multi-strand conference, talks and education programme, continuing Art Dubai’s long-standing commitment to thought-leadership and supporting the development of Dubai’s cultural infrastructure.
The Artist Commissions for 2023 are themed around food, community, celebration and hope, with artists selected from participating Art Dubai galleries and South Asia’s leading institutions. Comprising daily performances and food-based experiences, these new site-specific works will explore themes of community, celebration, hope, and connection.
The Swiss Wealth Management group Julius Baer is renewing its long-standing partnership with Art Dubai for a further five years, until 2027, and will also premiere a major new commission by artist, and pioneer in the aesthetics of data and machine intelligence, Refik Anadol. The commission will debut in Dubai as a part of Julius Baer’s new initiative ‘NEXT’, which will encourage the interdisciplinary exploration of megatrends across the arts, science and technology.
Also debuting at the fair will be UAE First Immersion, a presentation of new artworks by some of the leading names in digital art, produced following the group’s visit to the UAE in November 2022. The presentation will be unveiled as part of an expanded second edition of Art Dubai Digital, which will also feature collaborations with a range of organisations that are pioneering new institutional models, including Lian Foundation and 6529’s Open Metaverse project.
Locally, Art Dubai’s flagship professional development initiative Campus Art Dubai – celebrating its 10th edition – will expand to include placements with local partners including Alserkal Avenue and Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai, and Abu Dhabi-based emerging artists platform 421, with which the fair will also present a new group exhibition curated by UAE-based artist and researcher Dania Al Tamimi.
The 16th edition of Art Dubai’s celebrated transdisciplinary conference Global Art Forum, commissioned by Shumon Basar, will explore the theme “Predicting the Present” and will consider the central question: if it's the end of history and the end of the future, what happens next? The fair’s conference programme will expand in 2023 to include the first Dubai edition of Christie’s Art+Tech summit. The sixth iteration of this event, and the first in the region, programming will survey tech trends, hear from artists who are incorporating tech in their practices, and explore current and future challenges and opportunities, bringing together regional and global leaders, innovators, artists, and visionaries to foster meaningful dialogues on the important intersection of Art and Technology. Highlighting the important role played by collectors and philanthropists in the development of the region’s cultural infrastructure, Art Dubai’s programme will also include a series of high-level Collector and Modern Talks, presented in partnership with Dubai Collection, the first institutional art collection in the city and for the city.
Art Dubai’s Executive Director Benedetta Ghione commented:
“Art Dubai has always tried to reframe what an art fair can be, and this year’s expanded programme fully reflects our role as a meeting point for the region’s creative industries, both commercial and not-for-profit. As an innovative public-private partnership, we have been an incubator of talent, a catalyst for the creative economy here in Dubai, a convener of great minds, and an entry point to this vibrant ecosystem for the wider cultural sector. We are thrilled that our long-term partnership with Julius Baer will continue into a second decade; their continued support allows us to provide the next generation of the region’s artists and arts professionals with incredible opportunities.”
Art Dubai’s Artistic Director Pablo del Val commented:
“As the global art fair landscape shifts, Art Dubai continues to play an important role profiling and supporting the cultural ecosystems of the Global South and the programme this year fully reflects this region’s growing importance, energy and vibrancy. One of our strongest ever gallery line-ups, complemented by an expanded commissioning and thought-leadership programme, highlights the breadth of discourse that is happening here, and offers a glimpse into the past, present and future of this important region.”
Art Dubai is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The event is held in partnership with A.R.M. Holding. The fair is sponsored by Swiss Wealth Management Group Julius Baer. The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) is the fair’s strategic partner.
At the centre of the fair’s not-for-profit programme is Art Dubai Commissions, a platform that invites artists to produce site-specific works at the fair, supporting artistic production by local and international artists. Taking place in a purpose-built space, the 2023 Commissions programme will comprise daily performances and food-based experiences that will explore themes of community, celebration, hope, and connection. Featured artists will include: Prajakta Potnis (Project 88), Rathin Barman (Experimenter), Gunjan Kumar (Exhibit 320), Anoli Perera and Tayeba Begum Lipi (Shrine Empire). The programme is developed in close collaboration with leading institutions who are playing a key role in supporting artists and artistic production in South Asia and partners will include: Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation in collaboration with Britto Arts Trust, Ishara Art Foundation, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Kochi-Muziris Biennale and Samdani Art Foundation.
In the second year of collaboration with Art Dubai, 421, Abu Dhabi’s independent platform supporting emerging artists, will present a group exhibition curated by UAE-based artist and researcher Dania Al Tamimi. Featuring artworks that pose the question: does time move through you, or do you move through time?, the exhibition will explore time as the binding element of the biography of objects, the active archive of lives, and the solidifying catalyst of experiences.
Each year, Art Dubai’s celebrated Global Art Forum invites leading artists, curators, technologists and thinkers to take the cultural temperature of our contemporary moment. Commissioned by Shumon Basar, the 2023 edition is entitled “Predicting the Present” and will consider the central question: if it's the end of history and the end of the future, what happens next? Stories, experiments and speculations about culture, innovation and society point towards new sources of optimism and Dubai - a future-facing city leading in innovation - provides the ideal backdrop for these discussions, which will look at navigation tools for our uncertain times. Speakers will include Lukas Amacher, Head of Art, Dialectic and 1of1 works; Sumayya Vally, Principle of Counterspace, Architect of the 2021 Serpentine Pavilion and Curator of the 1st Islamic Biennale in Jeddah; Chiara Costa, Head of Programmes at Fondazione Prada; artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan; and Brendan McGetrick, Creative Director of Dubai’s Museum of the Future.
This year, Christie's will host its first regional Art+Tech summit in partnership with Art Dubai. Established in 2018, the sixth iteration of the summit - in conjunction with Christie’s annual summit in New York - aims to bring together regional and global leaders, innovators, artists, and visionaries to foster meaningful dialogues on the intersection of art and technology. Blending east and west by bringing in both regional and global voices, the one-day conference will survey trends, hear from artists who are incorporating technology in their practices, and explore current challenges and future opportunities to collaborate. Confirmed speakers will be announced shortly.
Presented in partnership with Dubai Collection, Art Dubai’s 2023 edition will also feature a series of Collector and Modern Talks. The Collector Talks will focus on the collectors and patrons who are driving the development of art scenes across the Global South and supporting the redistribution of cultural centres across the world. Sessions will focus on emerging trends in both traditional and digital collecting across the region, and what it means to be an arts patron in a place that is developing and implementing new institutional models. Panellists will include noted collectors Qinwen Wang, Fiorenzo Manganiello and Teo Yang. Accompanying Art Dubai’s Modern section will be a series of Modern Talks that will invite guest speakers to explore topics of 20th Century artists and art forms from the Middle East and North Africa, hold critical discussions on current trends in collecting across the region and the decolonisation of our art-historical canon.
Art Dubai 2023 marks the 10th edition of Campus Art Dubai (CAD), Art Dubai’s flagship initiative to develop the region’s future cultural leaders and a core component of the fair’s extensive year-round education programme. CAD was the first programme of its kind in the region, developed to provide existing and aspiring members of the region’s cultural and creative community with educational and professional opportunities. The 2023 edition will feature two concurrent strands. CAD 10.0 Professional Development will expand to include placements at both Art Dubai and other leading UAE cultural institutions, including Alserkal Avenue and Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai, and 421 in Abu Dhabi. A second strand, CAD Public Art, aims to build sector knowledge and capacity in the rapidly developing field of public art commissioning.
This year’s A.R.M. Holding Children’s Programme will feature artist-led workshops for children aged 5-17 years. The A.R.M. Holding Children’s Programme will first take place at Art Dubai before expanding to around 100 schools and more than 6,000 children across Dubai, in line with A.R.M. Holding’s long-term commitment to artistic education and supporting the development of Dubai’s creative economy.
Launched as a new physical fair section in March 2022, Art Dubai Digital provides an annual 360-degree snapshot of the digital art landscape, with the ambition of building bridges between the world of art and technology and exploring how artists are utilising new, immersive technologies to collapse the boundaries of the traditional art world.
Curated by Singapore-based educator and arts writer Clara Che Wei Peh, the expanded 2023 edition of Art Dubai Digital will welcome a selection of participants with innovative new media programmes, a range of digital platforms building virtual art spaces alongside artist collectives, new institutional models and more traditional bricks and mortar galleries. Together, these platforms are challenging and pushing forward new models for artistic production and support.
New presentations at Art Dubai Digital 2023 will include Lian Foundation, established by private collector, patron and expert in Blockchain Technology Fiorenzo Manganiello; 6529 with their decentralized Open Metaverse project; and UAE First Immersion, a presentation of new artworks by some of the leading names in crypto art, produced after they visited the UAE for the first time in November 2022, presented in collaboration with MORROW Collective. The presentation will feature new works by artists including: Coldie, Colborn Bell, Monaris, Bryan Brinkman, Kirk Finkel, and Raphael Torres, and the works will be made available first to collectors at Art Dubai 2023.