Digital mixed-media artist Anne Spalter’s composition.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
Following its successful launch in 2021, contemporary art gallery and platform Galloire has opened a new physical space at City Walk, Dubai. Galloire’s first show (Jan. 31 – Feb. 28) in the new location is the group exhibition I’m Not A Robot.
It features a collection of renowned international artists whose work explores human connection in a digital age - especially relevant, given our reliance on technology to maintain communication during the pandemic.
The exhibition includes works by Daniel Canogar, Anne Spalter, Xavi Sole Mora, Jonathan Monaghan, Jonas Lund and Addie Wagenknecht. The artists are pioneers in their field, working at the frontier of digital art and its intersection with traditional art. Works on display range from physical paintings created collaboratively with AI programmed robots, through to a selection of digital works made available as NFTs (non-fungible tokens).
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I’m Not A Robot marks the first time the works from most of the artists have been shown in Dubai; some have drawn attention at previous regional exhibitions. Canogar is a multidisciplinary artist who works in photography, video, sculpture, and installation.
His most recent sculptural installations are constructed with discarded electronic materials: computers, telephones, and electric cables, thousands of burnt-out bulbs, metres of videotape, old slot machines, celluloid and DVDs, among others. In much of his work, he seeks to bring dead materials back to life to reanimate the lifeless, reveal previously hidden secrets, and revive collective memory.
Canogar’s site-specific art installation Dynamo is showcased at Expo 2020 Dubai as a centrepiece of the Spanish pavilion, and this follows on from his recent showing at the Noor festival in Riyadh. He said: “My artworks’ generative processes that use real-time data, behave in unpredictable ways, which never repeat. By referencing everything from historical art process to manual weaving techniques, the data is then reformed and merged into its own work of art.
“Through that process, these living pieces enable us to visualise our algorithmic reality.” Wagenknecht’s work explores the tension between expression and technology. She seeks to blend conceptual work with forms of hacking and sculpture.
Speaking about the exhibition and her body of work, she said: “In a time where meme-based cryptocurrency is using up the world’s grid and art is being slashed from every major budget line in exchange for border walls and tax cuts, artists who are in discussion with technology are able to contextualise where our bodies belong in the future of art and tech, and how we engage with consumption.
“For me, so often being a woman online, is simply about having the right to be visible, having a right to exist in a space. The implications of that visibility means always knowing the context: where your body is, how it is presented, and who is looking at it and who is following you, wanted and unwanted. “There is a balance of visibility and fear. How do we translate this into something beautiful and how do technology and algorithms translate this - or do they expose it?”
Lund is a Swedish conceptual artist who creates paintings, sculpture, photography, websites and performances that critically reflect on contemporary networked systems and power structures. Through his works, he investigates the latest issues generated by the increasing digitalisation of contemporary society such as authorship, participation and authority. At the same time, he questions the mechanisms of the art world; he challenges the production process, authoritative power and art market practices. Digital mixed-media artist Spalter’s artistic process combines a consistent set of personal symbols with a hybrid arsenal of traditional mark-making methods and innovative digital tools.
Mora’s body of work reflects on the social perception of Good and Evil, on the power of cruelty and how to make it seductive through archly naive setups. Profoundly influenced by Francisco Goya, his satirical work portrays an irrational society where the boundaries between nastiness and enjoyment are blurred. His body of work encompasses digital prototyping, virtual reality, web-art, tactical media, film, drawing and happenings.
Monaghan is an artist working across a range of media, including prints, sculpture and computer-animated video, to produce otherworldly objects and narratives.
Drawing on wide-ranging sources, such as historical artworks and science fiction, his fantastical pieces uncover subconscious anxieties associated with technology and consumerism. Galloire is a contemporary gallery and platform that aims to bring the best international talent to the Middle East and make their work available regionally, as well as provide global collectors access to exciting new works from the world’s premiere artists. The exploration of the digital is at the core of Galloire as a platform and gallery.
Its first show was presented in full photo-realistic virtual reality and also allowed viewers, using leading-edge augmented reality technology, to bring the works into their home to view on their own walls. Edward Gallagher, Galloire’s Founder explained why I’m Not A Robot is their first in-gallery show. “With an exhibition which explores the balance between online and real life, between the physical and the digital, it seemed a great opportunity to allow that work to manifest in a new physical space. “This exhibition invites our audience to ask themselves if we need to go back to how we were, and can we? Have we numbed ourselves so much, we need to remind ourselves what deep human connection feels like, and how we achieve it without an electronic device?”
The exhibition explores the theme of ‘Placeless Place’ by way of materials, bodies, and surroundings. The showcase included original pieces by Sara Ahli, the first Emirati artist to exhibit a full series in the space.
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