LONDON - Two days before the official opening of the Frieze Art Fair and I am already breathless! So many events to go to, so much to catch. Is anyone else feeling that cloning oneself would seriously come in handy just now?
After the exciting events of the weekend, today there were three more MENA-related exhibitions: one, Delfina Foundation’s opening of the Abbas Akhavan show; two, Magic of Persia’s Contemporary Art Prize Shortlist exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, and three, Selma Feriani’s preview of Maha Mallouh’s works. Spoilt for choice and strapped for time, I rushed from one thing to another, ending up at the Caspian Arts Foundation charity auction at the Arts Club, in aid of the University for the Arts London. Of course it was impossible to be everywhere, but the 3 pm start at the Delfina Foundation allowed an early look-in at Akhavan’s response to the Foundation’s acquisition of an adjacent space, which will be knocked into the present one. The artist had explored the intrusion of nature into the house where familiar spaces have gradually been invaded by foreign elements. Site specific, transient installations such as boxed earth, creeping ivy, and a sprinkler hint at how the nature outside can appear hostile once it’s placed indoors.
At the Saatchi Gallery, Shirin Sabahi, the 2011 MOPCAP winner as well as the other finalists were showing their works. The prize process, which includes nominations by a large panel of gallerists, curators, artists and critics, culminates in exhibiting artists’ works at Art Dubai and a show in a leading London gallery the following October. Works are accompanied by artists’ bios and statements, and offer an important insight into the preoccupations of the Iranian art scene. Inevitably there is more socio-political commentary here than in any other medium and the viewer is left to ponder the question: what next?
For us in the industry, next would of course mean next event…