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The Creative Act: Performance • Process • Presence

8 March 2017


So maybe the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will happen after all. Here at least is a second exhibition of work from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection, offering a transcultural perspective on art since the 1960s and bringing together artists of different nationalities and generations.

It won’t be a massive show, with around 25 works in a variety of media – installation, painting, photography, sculpture, video, and works on paper – from more than 18 artists. As the title suggests, the exhibition will focus on creativity through the related themes of performance, process, and presence, which frame the exhibition’s curatorial narrative.

On the performance side, we’re promised works by artists such as Rasheed Araeen and Mohammed Kazem; since the 1960s, many artists have adopted performative practices, sometimes serving as the central protagonist, sometimes functioning as directors by providing instructions to participants.

Process places the emphasis on the act of creation and working methods, artists like Shiraga Kazuo and Tanaka Atsuko from the Gutai Art Association. Also featured is another group of 1960s pioneers, among them Niki de Saint Phalle and Günther Uecker, who are known for their development of experimental approaches that involve the use of ostensibly destructive techniques and everyday materials to comment on contemporary society. The section will also feature a piece by Anish Kapoor, a classic exemplar of process in making art.

The Creative Act also will delve into the theme of human presence, manifested by the appearance of the artist or others in the artworks as well as visible traces of the physical acts undertaken to realise them. We’ll get three immersive installations, works on paper and a video installation by Susan Hefuna.

Richard Armstrong, director of Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, reckons that The Creative Act will show is some of the dynamic, original curatorial research underway for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. “[It] draws back the curtain on the creative process through the work of a diverse group of artists featured in the growing collection … Both individually and collectively, they reveal a sense of wonder and magic that can be found in the everyday.”

There’s an excellent brochure for the show here. It runs to 29 July.

Above: Niki de Saint Phalle, Pirodactyl Over New York; 1962. Paint, plaster, and various objects on two wood panels



Günther Uecker, New York Dancer I; 1965. Nails, cloth, metal, and electric motor


Rasheed Araeen, Chakras I; 1969–70/1987. Wood, Day glow paint, and coloured photographs


Atsuko Tanaka, Painting; 1960. Vinyl paint on canvas


Shiraga Kazuo, Chiinsei Botaichu; 1961. Oil on canvas


Anish Kapoor, My Red Homeland; 2003. Wax, oil-based paint, motor, and steel


8 March 2017
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Manarat al Saadiyat
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates + Google Map

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