Sunday, 9 September 2007

Design Meets Art at the XVA

Went to opening of Art Meets Design at the XVA Gallery in Bastakia last night.

I like the XVA. There’s something about the ambience as you walk into that courtyard, and seeing some large Sabhan Adam pics that I didn’t see on my first visit was like bumping into some old friends. I had just come from a gym session at the Arabian Courtyard hotel so being offered ice cold mint and lemon to drink on arrival was a great start. Also met some architects here too but this time they were cool and edgy...

Fantastically diverse range of work on display including mixed 2D work (photography, portraiture, painting/print), household artefacts, furniture and masterpieces of personal bling by UAE based Layal (couldn’t find a website unfortunately).

I enjoyed some of the household and furniture especially the silver and black ‘blocks’ of drawers by Tavola Rasa. The more shapely items made me think of the French revolution rather than sexy underwear but this reinvention or ability to teach (very) old design new tricks is fascinating in itself. Also impressed by the lacquer cabinet from Nada Debs.

Some interesting vases by Gaia and Gino, one with a calligraphic design which reminded me of things I saw in the Word into Art exhibition in London shortly before I came to Dubai and also liked the sleek tessellated vases by Design Jordan. UAE based Seven Minutes featured bags using classical Arab textile design.

Given my own pre-occupations, however, I was mostly interested in the 2D work and Brown Monkeys also based in the UAE, made me think of manga, Mucha, sci fi, sumie and several other things all at once, which was a real treat. It was also good to see some of the greats of Arabic music and cinema getting the Warhol treatment from Laudi Abilama while the photographic images from the American University of Sharjah provided a subtle contrast to all the other work in the show.

Couldn’t access the website of Manola Moretti, which is a shame because her image of a faceless Eminem against a city skyline made a big impression. I love the mechanics of this kind of composition - mixing print, paint and other materials to reflect aspects of contemporary culture within a dark urban industrial realism!

However the winners for me were the three pieces by Abol Atighetchi. The colours and style of the larger piece put me in mind of Boetti's world maps and the smaller pieces on black painted wood were really quite sublimely beautiful.

So thanks again XVA!


  1. I would have given a vote for the shapely bundle of sticks

    i thought architexts were cool

  2. 'Masterpieces of Personal Bling'

    Liked that.