With more than 60 galleries exhibiting this year, well over half from outside the region, international galleries are continuing to look to the Middle East and neighbouring markets to open up new opportunities in the contemporary art market. Additionally, respondents consider the Middle Eastern market to play a very significant role for the contemporary art industry, with 75% of the surveyed galleries indicating that Dubai is perceived as the key platform for the art market in the Middle Eastern region and Art Dubai an essential component for meeting new collectors.
John Martin, Director and Co-Founder of Art Dubai, believes that the results indicate a continued confidence in the Middle East art market generally and the central role Dubai has established as the principle marketplace for art commerce in the region: “Despite the tough economic conditions of the last eighteen months, the Middle East art market has demonstrated its resilience in general, and Dubai has proved its importance as the principle platform for the contemporary art market in the region. Our survey has indicated that over 75% of Art Dubai’s surveyed participants believe Dubai remains the most important centre for the art market in the Middle East and that Art Dubai continues to present the best opportunities for meeting new collectors from across the region and internationally. With a reputation for innovation and quality built over four years, Art Dubai has consolidated its position as one of the most important new art fairs in the world. The continued confidence in the fair confirms our belief that Dubai has the all the ingredients to become one of the most important new centres for the global art market, and a significant meeting place for creativity and the exchange of ideas.”
Whereas in previous years participating galleries were as interested in finding new artists to represent as much as direct sales, in 2010 the survey reveals that galleries will now be concentrating more effort on representing their existing artists and focusing on building their regional collector base. “As regional collectors become more focused and experienced in their collections, so galleries are able to devote more of their stands to the artists whose work resonates more closely with the regional collector base. This year I am delighted more galleries will be presenting solo shows of some of the most important emerging and established artists giving a greater depth to the visitor experience. In 2010 there will also be a new area within the fair devoted to museum-quality painting and sculpture from the 1950’s to 1970’s providing an important contextual framework to the achievements of contemporary artists.”
“Collectors and curators come to Art Dubai to discover new talent and new ideas and this will remain a guiding principle of the fair’s long-term strategy,” said Martin. “In the next fair we are grateful for the continued partnership with Bidoun Projects who will curate an important programme focusing on upcoming talent from the Middle East and beyond.” With 'Bazaar' as its theme, the 2010 guest curators are Aram Moshayedi, of LAXART, and the curatorial team of Sohrab Mohebbi and Ozge Orsoy. In addition, Antonia Carver and Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Artistic Director of the Dubai International Film Festival and founder of the Emirates Film Competition, will curate a programme of films by UAE directors and artists, focusing on the exploration of the surreal and the spiritual in a series of short films and videos.
In addition to the 60+ art galleries participating in Art Dubai 2010, the fair will also include the unveiling of the artwork by this year’s recipients of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize. The three artist/curator teams will reveal their winning projects, enhancing their global reputation and widening their international network. In its second year, the Abraaj Capital Art Prize is one of the most generous art prizes in the world, and provides an exciting opportunity for creative collaboration between international curators and artists from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region.
Furthermore, Van Cleef & Arpels will present a prestigious exhibition of watches entitled: The Poetry of Time. Dedicated to the unique design of watches, the exhibition brings together the watch making tradition and excellence of the jeweler’s savoir-faire.
Art Dubai 2010 is held in partnership with private equity group Abraaj Capital and continues to enjoy support from its sponsors Van Cleef & Arpels and Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts.