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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“We Are Witnessing History”: Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian On Their Retrospective Exhibition at NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery


By Sophie Arni

Published on May 13, 2022

        Ramin Haerizadeh (b.1975, Tehran), Rokni Haerizadeh (b.1978, Tehran) and Hesam Rahmanian (b.1980, Knoxville), known colloquially as RRH, together form an artist collective whose practices reflect on their home country of Iran and the multicultural nature of the UAE, a country they have called home for the past thirteen years. Dealing with the now and the living, their multimedia installations feel like landscapes – fluid, always in motion, with no beginning and no end, reflecting the collaborative nature of their work.

The following interview was conducted in Dubai following the opening of RRH’s retrospective exhibition at NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery, the first institutional exhibition of the artists’ works in the UAE. Almost a decade after their solo exhibition at Isabelle van den Eynde gallery in Dubai, I Put It There, You Name It (2012), this new exhibition is titled Parthenogenesis, a scientific term which can be understood as a beginning that has no cause. This retrospective is indeed an immersive all-in-one experience, a sensory exhibition for viewers to discover their works in-situ, grounded by a specially commissioned O, You People (2021-22) floor painting.

The exhibition catalogue mentioned the process of “mimesis” inherent RRH’s works. While anthropologist Michael Taussig introduced mimesis in Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular History of the Senses as a process  ‘othering’ and receiving, the artists define mimesis as reproducing, replicating, and transforming. I was taken aback by the poetic ways the artists transformed stories of displacements into baroque images of migration. Video documentation of their stunningly colorful villa bled into the massive floor painting and into the ceramic works displayed in the air, amounting to a mimetic cacophony of colors, textures, and lived-in political realities. I had the pleasure to sit down with the three artists and ask them about their collaborative artistic processes.

Top image: Installation view of Parthenogenesis: Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, Hesam Rahmanian at The NYUAD Art Gallery. Work on view, with the participation of Mohammed Rahis Mollah in collaboration with Kiori Kawai: Replication of Alluvium, Molecule Structure B (Bemari), 2022. Photo: John Varghese. Courtesy of NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery.

Sophie Mayuko Arni: Thank you for this interview, Im looking forward to knowing more about your respective careers and collaborative practice. First off, could you tell us about the start of your artistic practices, from Iran to the UAE?

Hesam Rahmanian: We grew up around the period of the Iran-Iraq war. After the Iranian Revolution, Iran went through a Cultural Revolution from 1980 to 1982. All cultural output needed to be aligned with the Islamic Republic ideology. As a result, many teachers, professors, and students left the school system. An ecosystem of self-taught underground courses started to emerge, and we were part of the generation that studied in those underground classes brought to existence by those who experienced the Cultural Revolution. While the Islamic Republic mostly had control over public spaces, these underground courses were our safe havens. You had to find your own oasis to go to. We were amongst writers, philosophers, art historians, dancers, and artists.

I met Ramin and Rokni in the early 90s, and stayed friends. We would be pursuing our collective activities together in Iran already. When we came to the United Arab Emirates in 2009, it felt like a natural progression to think about living and working together as a common project.

Rokni Haerizadeh: The way we grew up meant that you had to find your underground communities in private spaces. If you had a question, you had to find the right channel, enter the right communities, find the right person, in order to receive your answer. It was truly like designing our own university.

During the war, an ongoing practice of collectiveness and togetherness was fostered. People were in bunkers and shelters for 48 hours at a time, or they would spend at least a few hours together, until they knew things were safe on the surface and come back up. This was the seed of our approach to art and our artistic practice.

S.A.: In Dubai, you have been actively practicing out of your stunning villa/studio space. A defining moment of your exhibition currently on view at NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery is the immersive experience of seeing your villa recorded by prominent figures and artists of the UAE scene – including Farah Al Qasimi and Lamya Gargash. Their photographs offer a glimpse for audiences to see the collaborativeness of your practice, and imagine your work in-situ. Thinking of the lineage of UAE artists who have turned residential villas into artist studios, one can trace this practice back to Hassan Sharif. Could you tell us more about this choice, and the process of working from home?

R.H.: In Iran, we dedicated our family home to hosting artists friends, sculptors, musicians. We would program activities and work on projects collaboratively.

When we came to the UAE, we wanted to keep this feeling of togetherness. There was a clear difference between our practice in Tehran and Dubai however. When we came here, we wondered how this togetherness would evolve, as it was not based on wartime needs anymore. How can cohabitation sustain itself without depending on a need?


When we came to the UAE, we wanted to keep this feeling of togetherness.



H.R.: The whole concept of fusing where you live and work has some echoes with the works we are showing in this exhibition. We like to think about the spectrum of public and private space, and think of blending the two as our home acts as a studio, and often a gathering space.

When we came to Dubai, we decided to redefine what “home” could mean. We started this process out of necessity perhaps. We were new in a city, and didn’t know much about the surrounding culture. It is as if we put ourselves in a capsule, from which we could define the meaning of home and take inspiration from the city. Our home is like a cell, in contact with the outside veneer. In Iran, when artists built independent spaces, there was always tremendous activity happening inside, but also a constant relationship with the outside world. Similarly, in the UAE, you can think of the Flying House and Hassan Sharif.

You have to remember that this region does not have infrastructure built for artists like in the West. You need to rely on yourself, to have your own community, or your own cell. By observing these structures in Iran and the UAE, we discovered it’s always important to bring something from the outside in - like a functioning cell, defined by its outer membrane. You have a membrane, that acts like a limit, and allows privacy from the inside and a division with the outside world. But the two worlds are always in dialogue.

The works on view in this exhibition, just like our villa, are some sort of landscapes for us. We strive to build new relationships between objects and thoughts. We like to think that everything is in a stage of constant growth.


You have to remember that this region does not have infrastructure built for artists like in the West. You need to rely on yourself, to have your own community, or your own cell.



R.H.: We actually refuse to use term “installation” to define our exhibitions, we want to showcase the living processes and intersecting relationships of creating art – which the term “landscape” encapsulates. The definition of landscape is that it has no beginning and no end. The exhibition at the NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery is also a landscape. You can start at any point of the exhibition and enjoy it.


The exhibition at the NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery is also a landscape. You can start at any point of the exhibition and enjoy it.



S.A.: Zooming into your exhibition at NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery, entitled Parthogenesis, could you tell us what this institutional retrospective exhibition means to you, especially in the context of the UAE art scene?

R.H.: This exhibition at NYUAD is our first academic, institutional show here in the UAE. We have had similar solo exhibitions internationally, but it means a great deal to us to showcase our work in this context.

Compared to the West, there were less distractions to deal with in the conceptualization of the exhibitions. NYUAD is here in the UAE, the curatorial team is familiar with the culture. As artists, we didn’t have to go through extra layers of explanations or introductions about this region. Everything was already clear.

S.A.: Could you tell us more about the Alluvium series of mixed-media plates? The concept of mimesis is at the core of the making and the substance of the work. The anthropologist Michael Taussig is often quoted in your exhibition catalogue. I remember reading a beautiful line in his Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular History of the Senses: the capacity to mime is the capacity to Other.” I think ceramic plates are especially well-suited for the process of mimesis, when thinking back about the history of export porcelain from Jingdezhen or Delftware, in constant imitation processes between Chinese and Dutch designs and symbols for example.

R.H.: I like this idea, we are truly highlighting a constant imitation dialogue. The Alluvium series plate sculptures started out from seeds planted in 2014. As I explained earlier, we are in constant dialogue with the outside world. When we were working on the Alluvium plates, we are casting our time, witnessing history and trying to reimagine our time.

H.R.: When something is happening in the world, whether in its art world or the scientific world, we take it as subject matter and place multiple perspectives on it, mapping that situation as a materialization of thoughts and perspectives. When a collage is drawn on a plate, the other one gets executed on a painting for example.

Like Rokni said, we are in the process of witnessing history. Our work is about historical witnessing, with images that are documented and collected from the media over time. We work together in a Field of Negotiation: either as a trio or with other collaborators, we draw different positions, and allow for multiple angles of thoughts into one surface in order to debate. Sometimes, one would give an idea and the other two or three would execute. Other times, others work on an idea and all members of the group take part in the execution. This generative field has become the core of our practice.


We work together in a Field of Negotiation: either as a trio or with other collaborators, we draw different positions, and allow for multiple angles of thoughts into one surface in order to debate.



R.H.: The dance element came in early in the process for example. When we started to work on the Alluvium series, we thought of the constant dance we operate in as artists practicing in the UAE. When we had encounters with people such as carpenters or welders, we have no common language at first. So we decided to take that language barrier as a strategy for object-making. We make objects not based on language, but based on dance. We explain the object using hand gestures for example, like a dance.

H.R.: We made these Alluvium molecular structures with welder Rahis Mollah. Then, we asked ourselves if what would happen if we would invite a professional dancer. We asked Maya [Allison, NYUAD Art Gallery Chief Curator] who introduced us to Kiori Kawai. She choreographed a dance based on the sculpture, also considering the subject matters on the plates. We watched the dance with Rahis Mollah, and reached a new Alluvium sculpture based on Kiori’s performance. Again, we highlight the process of imitating, not necessarily copying. Dance, especially folk dance, is in constant process of imitation. You can never fully replicate the dance, it will always be a little bit different. But the process of mimesis is an open invitation for collaborative process. We invite others, and sometimes they take the lead.

S.A.: Do you have any advice for upcoming artist trios or art collectives? Art collectives seem rare with the younger generation of UAE artists - curator collectives or art criticism collectives are plentiful, but artists tend to stick to their own practice, only perhaps coming together to share a studio space but still sticking to their own practice.

R.H.: Our strength comes from our first attempts at being a collective in Iran. For us, coming together was based on generosity, not based on need. Each one of us came together, cooked together, helped each other while keeping our individual practices. We contributed from the individual practices into the collective. When we are working on a painting for example, we never delete anything, we always try to work around the idea that the other person has put forward.

Perhaps the moments when somebody claims total authorship and ownership of ideas is linked with ego. A lot of art surrounds the concept of ego, and heroic acts. For us, being together is enough. When we sit down with writers and people from different walks of life, we rebuilt a new kind of relationship with collaboration. I think we need to redefine the terms “art” and “artist” for the 21st century. With our new bonds with nature, we need a new definition.

S.A.: Lets end with a couple of fire-drill questions, if you dont mind. Favorite city?

Ramin Haerizadeh: One of my favorite cities is Abu Dhabi. It’s comfortable. The water, the islands, and the architecture all give a sense of balance and peace. It’s a city that gives me hope, as it’s putting forth a strong investment into culture. It is precious to see a city that sees the future in cultural developments.

R.H.: We also always wanted to visit Tokyo, or Shanghai.

S.A.: The UAE in one word?

Rokni: Nobility. The UAE carries nobility in the way it represents the worlds’ cultures.

Ramin: Poetic. I think the UAE is a poetic country. During the summer months especially, you have pure moments of poetry with long shadows and extreme heat.

Hesam: For us, the UAE was a bridge. We met people from different cultures, and our practice started to carry an international component as a result of that.

S.A.: Finally, you are about to open an exhibition with OGR Torino during the Venice Biennale. Could you tell us more about it?

H.R.: We are showing the same molecular structure, Alluvium, in Venice. The exhibition opened on April 20th, and we are continuing to explore dance as another language.




Parthenogenesis: Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, Hesam Rahmanian is open from March 1 - June 12, 2022 at NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery, and admission is free of charge.

Visit the NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery.

Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian are known for their immersive, surreal projects, performances, paintings, and animations. Originally from Iran, the artist trio formed their collaborative practice as early as 1999 in Tehran, and it continued to flourish in the UAE where the artists have been residing in self-imposed exile since 2009. The artists work individually and collectively and often incorporate friends and people from different walks of life into their practice. They often refer to their work as a landscape, where the complex nature of processing integrates in a nested system that forms the landscape of their shoes. The artists have existed extensively around the world, including important solo exhibitions at The Schirn Kunsthalle (Frankfurt, 2020); the Frye Art Museum (Seattle, 2019); Officine Grandi Riparazioni (OGR) (Turin, 2018); the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) (2017); the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) (Boston, 2015); Kunsthalle Zürich (2015); and Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art (Copenhagen, 2015). In 2022, along with their presentation at the NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery, they will present a site-specific project with OGR Torino during the Venice Biennale.