E-Issue 05 –– VCE
Fall 2022

September 5th, 2022



  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in VCE
  3. Pop(Corn): UAE National Pavilion
  4. Rapport: Venice
  5. Zeitgeist of our Time: Füsun Onur for the Turkish Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale
  6. GAD’s Top Picks: National Pavilions
  7. Strangers to the Museum Wall: Kehinde Wiley’s Venice Exhibition Speaks of Violence and Portraiture
  8. Questioning Everyday Life: Alluvium by Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian at OGR Torino in Venice

E-05++
Fall/Winter 2022-23


Artist Interview January 19th, 2023
NYC Reflecting on Her Southwestern Chinese Bai Roots, Peishan Huang Captures Human Traces on Objects and Spaces

Artist Interview January 8th, 2023 
TYO Shu Yonezawa and the Art of Animation

Artist Interview December 9th, 2022
DXB Navjot Altaf Unpacks Eco-Feminism and Post-Pandemic Reality at Ishara Art Foundation

Exhibition December 2nd, 2022
TYO Wetland Lab Proposes Sustainable Cement Alternative in Tokyo

Exhibition November 11th, 2022
TYO
“Atami Blues” Brings Together UAE-Based and Japanese Artists in HOTEL ACAO ANNEX



E-Issue 04 –– IST 
Spring 2022

March 15th, 2022



  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in IST
  3. Pop(Corn): Refik Anadol
  4. Rapport: Istanbul
  5. Independent Spaces in Istanbul: Sarp Özer on Operating AVTO


E-04++ 
Spring/Summer 2022


Curator Interview July 9th, 2022
IST Creating an Artist Books Library in Istanbul: Aslı Özdoyuran on BAS

Market Interview June 28th, 2022
HK 
How Pearl Lam Built Her Gallery Between China and Europe

Exhibition June 27th, 2022
UAE
What’s On in the UAE: Our Top Summer Picks

Exhibition June 21st, 2022
DXB Art Jameel Joins The World Weather Network in a Groundbreaking Response to Global Climate Crisis

Artist Interview June 13th, 2022
DXB “Geometry is Everywhere”: An Interview and Walking Tour of Order of Magnitude, Jitish Kallat’s Solo Exhibition at Dubai’s Ishara Art Foundation

Artist Interview May 13th, 2022
DXB 
“We Are Witnessing History”: Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian On Their Retrospective Exhibition at NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery

Exhibition May 6th, 2022
IST
 Istanbul’s 5533 Presents Nazlı Khoshkhabar’s “Around and Round”

Exhibition April 23rd, 2022
HK Startbahn Presents “Made in Japan 3.0: Defining a New Phy-gital Reality”, an NFT Pop-Up at K11 Art Mall

Market Interview March 28th, 2022
DXB Dubai's Postmodern Architecture: Constructing the Future with 3dr Models

Curator Interview March 21st, 2022

E-Issue 03 –– TYO 
Fall 2021

October 1st, 2022



  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in TYO
  3. Pop(Corn): Nimyu
  4. Ahmad The Japanese: Bady Dalloul on Japan and Belonging
  5. Rapport: Tokyo 
  6. Alexandre Taalba Redefines Virtuality at The 5th Floor
  7. Imagining Distant Ecologies in Hypersonic Tokyo: A Review of “Floating Between the Tropical and Glacial Zones”
  8. Ruba Al-Sweel Curates “Garden of e-arthly Delights” at SUMAC Space
  9. Salwa Mikdadi Reflects on the Opening of NYU Abu Dhabi’s Arab Center for the Study of Art

E-03++
Fall/Winter 2021-22


Exhibition Review March 14th, 2022
DXB Art Dubai Digital, An Alternative Art World?

Exhibition March 11th, 2022
DXB Must-See Exhibitions in Dubai - Art Week Edition 2022

Artist Interview March 10th, 2022
DXB Prepare The Ingredients and Let The Rest Flow: Miramar and Zaid’s “Pure Data” Premieres at Satellite for Quoz Arts Fest 2022

Artist Interview February 26th, 2022
TYO Akira Takayama on McDonald’s Radio University, Heterotopia, and Wagner Project

Exhibition Review February 11th, 2022
AUH Woman as a Noun, and a Practice: “As We Gaze Upon Her” at Warehouse421
Curator Interview October 15th, 2021
IST “Once Upon a Time Inconceivable”: A Review and a Conversation

Exhibition October 7th, 2021
RUH Misk Art Institute’s Annual Flagship Exhibition Explores the Universality of Identity

Market Interview October 6th, 2021
RUH HH Prince Fahad Al Saud Discusses Saudi Arabia’s Artistic Renaissance

Exhibition October 5th, 2021
DXB
Engage101 Presents “Connected, Collected” at Sotheby’s Dubai

E-Issue 02 –– NYC 
Spring 2021

February 21st, 2021



  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in NYC
  3. Pop(Corn): Zeid Jaouni
  4. You Can Take The Girl Out Of The City 
  5. Rapport: NYC
  6. Kindergarten Records Discuss The Future of Electronic Music
  7. Sole DXB Brings NY Hip-Hop To Abu Dhabi
  8. Wei Han Finds ‘Home’ In New York
  9. Vikram Divecha: Encounters and Negotiations

E-02++
Spring/Summer 2021


Exhibition Review August 9th, 2021
DXB “After The Beep”: A Review and Some Reflections

Artist Interview June 30th, 2021
OSA Rintaro Fuse Curates “Silent Category” at Creative Center Osaka

Exhibiton Review June 20th, 2021
AUH “Total Landscaping”at Warehouse 421

Exhibition June 11th, 2021
TYO “Mimicry of Hollows” Opens at The 5th Floor

Market Interview May 26th, 2021
TYO Startbahn, Japan’s Leading Art Blockchain Company, Builds a New Art Infrastructure for the Digital Age

Curator Interview May 20th, 2021
DXB There Is A You In The Cloud You Can’t Delete: A Review of “Age of You” at Jameel Arts Centre

Artist Interview May 11th, 2021
BAH Mihrab: Mysticism, Devotion, and Geo-Identity

Exhibition May 9th, 2021
LDN Fulfilment Services Ltd. Questions Techno-Capitalism on Billboards in London

Artist Interview April 28th, 2021
DXB Ana Escobar: Objects Revisited

Exhibition Review April 27th, 2021
TYO BIEN Opens Two Solo Exhibitions in Island Japan and Parcel

Artist Interview April 26th, 2021
CTU/AUH/YYZ Sabrina Zhao: Between Abu Dhabi, Sichuan, and Toronto

Exhibition April 16th, 2021
RUH Noor Riyadh Shines Light on Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Art Strategy

Exhibition Review April 5th, 2021
DXB A Riot Towards Landscapes

Exhibition Review April 1st, 2021
DXB A ‘Menu Poem’ and All That Follows

Exhibition March 28th, 2021
DXB Alserkal Art Week Top Picks 

Curator Interview March 21st, 2021
DXB Permeability and Regional Nodes: Sohrab Hura on Curating Growing Like a Tree at Ishara Art Foundation

Exhibition Review March 7th, 2021
AUH Re-viewing Contrasts: Hyphenated Spaces at Warehouse421

Exhibition Review March 3rd, 2021
DXB There’s a Hurricane at the Foundry

E-Issue 01 –– AUH/DXB
Summer 2020 

August 1st, 2020



  1. Editor’s Note 
  2. What’s On in the UAE
  3. Pop(Corn): Hashel Al Lamki
  4. Tailoring in Abu Dhabi
  5. Rapport: Dubai 
  6. Michael Rakowitz From the Diaspora

E-01++
Fall/Winter 2020-21


Exhibition Review February 21st, 2021
GRV MIA Anywhere Hosts First Virtual Exhibition of Female Chechen Artists    

Curator Interview January 25th, 2021
DXB Sa Tahanan Collective Redefines Home for Filipino Artists

Exhibition Review December 9th, 2020
SHJ Sharjah Art Foundation Jets Ahead on the Flying Saucer

Exhibition Review
November 23rd, 2020


AUH SEAF Cohort 7 at Warehouse 421 

Exhibition Review November 21st, 2020
DXB 101 Strikes Again with Second Sale at Alserkal Avenue

Exhibition Review November 19th, 2020
DXB Spotlight on Dubai Design Week 2020

Exhibition Review November 16th, 2021
DXB Melehi’s Waves Complicate Waving Goodbye

Exhibition Review November 13th, 2020
DXB
Kanye Says Listen to the Kids: Youth Takeover at Jameel Arts Centre

Book Review October 28th, 2020
DAM Investigating the Catalogues of the National Museum of Damascus

Exhibition Review October 22nd, 2020
AUH Ogamdo: Crossing a Cultural Highway between Korea and the UAE

Exhibition October 22nd, 2020
TYO James Jarvis Presents Latest Collages at 3110NZ

Exhibition Review October 19th, 2020
DXB Do You See Me How I See You?

Market Interview October 14th, 2021
DXB Thaely Kicks Off Sustainable Sneakers

Artist Interview September 27th, 2020
AUH BAIT 15 Welcomes New Member Zuhoor Al Sayegh

Exhibition Review September 24th, 2020
MIA a_part Gives Artists 36 Hours to React


Curator Interview September 14th, 2020
UAE Tawahadna Introduces MENA Artists to a Global Community

Artist Interview September 10th, 2020
LHR/CAI Alaa Hindia’s Jewelry Revives Egyptian Nostalgia

Artist Interview September 7th, 2020
DXB Taaboogah Infuses Comedy Into Khaleeji Menswear

Market Interview September 4th, 2020
DXB Meet Tamila Kochkarova Behind ‘No Boys Allowed’

Exhibition September 1st, 2020
DXB Alserkal Arts Foundation Presents Mohamed Melehi

Market Interview August 28th, 2020
AUH/DXB 101 Pioneers Ethical and Curious Art Collecting

Artist Interview August 26th, 2020
AUH Sarah Almehairi Initiates Conversations

Artist Interview August 24th, 2020
DXB Augustine Paredes Taking Up Space

Artist Interview August 23rd, 2020
LHR/MCT Hanan Sultan Rhymes Frankincense with Minimalism

Map August 16th, 2020
BEY GAD Map: Arts & Culture Relief for Beirut

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“Total Landscaping” at Warehouse 421


By Sarah Daher

Published on June 20th, 2021

        The beginnings of this review come to me as I’m parked outside a stranger’s villa which is presumably under renovation. The outside of the villa is clad with sheeting intended to cover the work in progress ensuing behind. The sheeting, printed edge-to-edge in what looks like cascading English ivy, immediately reminds me of an almost identical image from the Mild Life series by Layan Attari. The 2016 work, on show at Warehouse 421’s current exhibition Total Landscaping, reflects on the imposition of “fake” nature in the urban landscape of Gulf cities. I turn away from the offending printed polymer silently cursing the slander of this utterly displaced European evergreen; perhaps it’s a byproduct of the moment we’re living through but any narrative of forced displacement, even of foliage, feels harrowing.

1.  Layan Attari, Mild Life, 2016. Digital photograph. Image courtesy of Warehouse 421. 

This review begins to feel urgent when just the next day I find myself driving down a road I frequent often. Demarking the two directions of vehicle traffic is a line of stately palm trees that have steadily grown more robust with every passing month. Today, though, one of these orderly angiosperms has slumped over. I spy it in the distance as I’m making my way around the light curve of the road and I reach over the armrest for my phone to snap a picture of it as I drive past. I must show this to Khalid (Mohamed Khalid). It is uncanny and it also isn’t that in the span of two days I’ve driven past two replicas of scenes from Total Landscaping, both times feeling a sense of rapidly rising excitement at the confluence of art and my lived experience.


It is uncanny and it also isn’t that in the span of two days I’ve driven past two replicas of scenes from Total Landscaping, both times feeling a sense of rapidly rising excitement at the confluence of art and my lived experience.



2. Installation view, “Total Landscaping” curated by Murtaza Vali. Image courtesy of Warehouse 421.

Curated by the always astute Murtaza Vali, Total Landscaping at Abu Dhabi’s Warehouse 421 is a show with an enviably clever title boasting an impressively percipient commentary on the co-opting of nature and its associated imagery, verbiage, and hues in the region. This is the third in a series of exhibitions curated by Vali that examines infrastructures in the Gulf; departing from the canonical infrastructures that are under constant scrutiny, Vali chooses instead to look closely at infrastructures that are more intimate, lively, and proximal to the body.


Curated by the always astute Murtaza Vali, Total Landscaping at Abu Dhabi’s Warehouse 421 is a show with an enviably clever title boasting an impressively percipient commentary on the co-opting of nature and its associated imagery, verbiage, and hues in the region.



Beginning at and departing from the writing of Gareth Doherty, author of Paradoxes of Green, which challenges the limits of landscape architecture through an ethnographic study of the experience of green in Bahrain, the show reflects on the myriad ways in which nature (in its many colors, not just green) seeps into the overarching structures within which daily life is conducted in the Gulf and more broadly in the Global South. 

3. Iftikhar Dadi and Elizabeth Dadi, Padma (from the series Efflorescence), 2019. Image courtesy of Warehouse 421. 

From the wilting corsages of Malaysian dignitaries to the ribbon-cutting ceremonial bouquets of inaugurations, severed plant-life has a tradition of being used as an ornamental display of grandeur marking occasions of social significance. These two scenes are brought to the fore respectively in Ceremonial Achievements in Flowers by GCC and YB 1-10 by Yee I-Lam. 

The accompanying interpretative labels next to the works lead me to imagine the dignifying role bequeathed to the now-dead-once-alive flowerheads - like most things possessing copious beauty, they are allocated an inherent power of arrest. The co-opting of the flower from its natural habitat into the service of political, economic, social climbing agendas is an unnoticed way that nature features in routine human existence, but in Total Landscaping abrupt is the moment of recognition of how performed these integrations of nature often are.

4. GCC, Ceremonial Achievements in Flowers, 2013. Image courtesy of Warehouse 421. 

5. Yee I-Lann, YB 1-10 (from the series The Orang Besar), 2010. Image courtesy of Warehouse 421.

For a show that speaks from a text that directly invokes a very specific color (green), different corners of Total Landscaping are awash in vastly different colors. Two walls at the far end of the exhibition meet at a corner, one a constellation of a blue that one can only describe as true, the other a markedly drab grey.

The cyanotypes of plant species native to the UAE, documented by Hind Mezaina in her series Dubai Gardens appear borrowed from under a microscope. Framed by ethnographic notes taken by architect and writer Todd Reisz on experiments in urban greening, this true blue wall displays a nature under meticulous quasi-scientific stu
dy.

6. Hind Mezaina, Dubai Gardens, 2017. Image courtesy of Warehouse 421.

The wall it meets shows a nature rendered. Stephanie Syjuco’s Neutral Orchids, a photographic series of orchids spray painted grey, belie their medium; from a distance they appear but digital renderings of finicky, hard-to-keep-alive plants. Up close, I can’t help myself from thinking that were these live grey orchids for sale they would be roaring successes amongst the hordes of neutral-loving millennials whose white, beige, and grey homes dare not be interrupted by even an errant childs toy in primary colors. I know I’m taking things a step too far but, as a byproduct of the moment we’re living through, I find myself inflamed at the ways in which the human hand exploits subjects under its control.


7. Stephanie Syjuco, Neutral Orchids, 2016. Image courtesy of Warehouse 421.


Total Landscaping is an exhibition that, in a time when mushrooms and trees are culturally in vogue, feels topical without feeling trite.



Total Landscaping is an exhibition that, in a time when mushrooms and trees are culturally in vogue, feels topical without feeling trite. It reflects on the nuanced particularities of nature in a region regarded as barren, a place where, by consequence, the experience of nature is perhaps under-examined. In the weeks that have passed since visiting Warehouse 421, Total Landscaping has been everywhere I’ve looked. It is precisely in the name of this unshakeable haunting, one of the hallmarks of an excellent exhibition, that I urge one and all to visit and see all that is green (grey and blue) afresh.



Total Landscaping is part of the Substructures: Excavating the Everyday series by curator Murtaza Vali, on view at Warehouse 421 until July 4th, 2021. Participating artists include: Layan Attari, Iftikhar Dadi and Elizabeth Dadi, GCC, Mohamed Khalid, Ho Rui An, Hind Mezaina (with Todd Reisz), Farah Al-Qasimi, Stephanie Syjuco and Yee I-Lann.

Sarah Daher is a curator and researcher who graduated with a BA in Theater and Economics from New York University Abu Dhabi and is currently completing her Masters in Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art in London. She is based between the UAE and London. She cares about the role of art in building and preserving communities and shared identities.