How to turn an art fair booth into an unforgettable exhibition room? Ask to GCC collective

After being in group shows at the MoMA PS1 and at the New Museum in New York, probably the eight members – or “delegates”, as they prefer to be called – of the GCC inter disciplinary collective have started to think that their still unclassifiable art products have become something more than an energizing attempt to inject a certain idea of the Gulf society into the art scene.

In effect, more than objects of art, or mimetic installation addressing what “nowadays” is typical of iconic places such as Doha or Abu Dhabi, they have become a well recognizable voice bringing to light a specific “vision”, an artistic one, of those places and their rituals.

Kraupa-Tuskany Ziedler dedicated to GCC at FIAC 2014 – that is the acronym of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a political and economic alliance whose goal is that of strengthening cooperation and reinforcement of the links between them (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates,Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman) – has proved how GCC’s voice has actually grown stronger, and indeed convincing.

A digital print of the interior of a luxury hotel in the Gulf covered the inside of the booth, on which there were hanging eight oil portraits, ironically depicting the GCC’s members, executed by a Thai painter specialised in sheikh portraiture. From an artistic point of view however, what was really engaging was the fact that the gallerist and her assistant ended up to be involuntary guests sitting in the lobby of this multi-billion-dollar hotel. In a similar, yet different way this scene reminded to the perfect set-up created by Helly Nahmad Gallery that has so impressed visitors, and media, at Frieze Master the week before.

Two conclusions can be drawn from this episode, the first one being that contemporary art has still an enormous and scarcely used information potential, something very similar to the power painting held in other epochs, such as the Renaissance era, or the XVIII century. The second conclusion is that even the booths at art fairs could be as effective as a museum room, as long as the space is cleverly managed and the artists are able to turn it into a stage.

GCC is currently on show at Sharjha Art Foundation and it has been selected for the Pinchuk Art Center for the Future Generations Art Price 2014. Its members are: Nanu Al-Hamad (b. 1987, Kuwait City; lives in New York), Khalid Al Gharaballi (b. 1981, Kuwait City; lives in Kuwait City), Sophia Al Maria (b. 1983 Tacoma, WA; lives in London), Abdullah Al-Mutairi (b. 1990, Kuwait City; lives New York), Fatima Al Qadiri (b. 1981, Dakar; lives in New York), Monira Al Qadiri (b. 1983, Dakar; lives in Beirut), Aziz Al Qatami (b. 1979, Kuwait City; lives in Kuwait City), Barrak Alzaid (b. 1985, Kuwait City; lives in Dubai), Amal Khalaf (b. 1982, Singapore; lives in London).


December 17, 2017