Inloco Storage debuts in Dubai with Filippo Minelli’s ‘Idealised City’ - GulfToday

Inloco Storage debuts in Dubai with Filippo Minelli’s ‘Idealised City’

WTAN A-N by Filippo Minelli.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

Inloco Initiative, whose projects consists in supporting and researching urban art since 2014, has announced the opening of Inloco Storage. The Storage, which is marking its global debut in Dubai, is perhaps an entirely new form of art representation. With the inaugural of the Storage, Inloco – meaning “on site” — brings forward the concept of open storage for art artifacts.

The idea stems from the belief that the most significant and intriguing urban art events occur in the streets; artifacts should therefore be accessible for public viewing and interaction. The centerpiece of the project is the ‘Golden Container’ – literally a repository of treasures in the warehouse, which highlights the value of the objet d’art stored within.

The event is being set in motion by the Idealised City installation – the first solo exhibition of contemporary artist Filippo Minelli in the UAE (Feb. 27). Based on the concept of artistic intervention, the inaugural show will offer a critical exploration of urban and cultural transformations vis-a-vis identity, in the post-globalisation era.

“The subject came to me,” says Minelli, “after working in various cities on different continents, which, like the place I was born, are rapidly changing landscapes that continually remix references. However, I developed the installation after Inloco Talks 2023, where urbanists, architects, curators and other professionals, shared ideas about identity in relation to space and city-making.

It was a great opportunity for me to deepen my understanding of their thinking and find connections between it and my past research.” Minelli’s practice challenges the construction and deconstruction of narratives regarding recognition.

Idealised City examines the role of architectural and urban elements in personal and collective self-formation, particularly in the context of the globalised world. The exhibition draws on historical perspectives, contrasting Leon Battista Alberti’s Renaissance ‘Ideal City’ with Al-Farabi’s ‘Virtuous City’ (Madinat al-Fadilah), to explore modern urbanism and its departure from past models.

 Filippo Minelli is a contemporary artist.

The multidisciplinary project was partially inspired by Inloco Talks 2023, where prominent speakers like Khaled Al Alawadi, Associate Professor of Sustainable Urbanism, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Khalifa University, and George Katodrytis, Professor of Architecture, at American University of Sharjah, explored Dubai’s evolving landscape, its vibrant and transformative power, and its leadership role in shaping modern cityscapes.

The Inloco exhibition looks into the uniformity in urban development in various regions of the world, contrasting it with the cultural and historical identities of ancient city centres, now relegated to tourist attractions. The juxtaposition also serves as a basis for questioning the contemporary meanings of ‘authenticity’ and ‘collective identity’.

Idealised City reflects on the undeniable influence of Bedouin traditions and nomadic practices in the Gulf region’s urban development, highlighting their role in the contemporary landscape, which perhaps provides an alternative to contemporary preservation methods. Utilising photography, video and installation art, Minelli creates an immersive environment that extends into the digital realm.

The exhibition wants viewers to engage with themes of introspection, authenticity and the representation of reality in the digital age. Minelli (born in Italy, 1983), is an internationally recognised contemporary artist known for his deep exploration and research into the current landscape and its cultural dynamics.

He creates engaging installations and performances, which are documented through photography and video. His artistic focus is primarily on liminal spaces and geographic areas in the post-globalisation world. In 2021, he was a Resident at the Sharjah Art Foundation. He has participated in numerous key art events, including Manifesta12 at the Palazzo Ajutamicristo in Palermo, Italy, as well as in preview and group shows at Art Space Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi.

Since 2014, Inloco Initiative has been driven by a global team of enthusiasts dedicated to projects focused on the context and identity of places, with a mission to support independent art through collaborative efforts. The team’s latest launch is the development of the open-to-public Inloco Storage, designed to gather and showcase a collection of contextualised art creations.

Its upcoming launch continues Inloco’s mandate, by focusing on artists who blend urban contemporary art with semantic nuances, experimenting with a variety of artistic approaches. The Initiative believes that the connection between urban art and its mediators is essential to the wider contemporary art context. “Inloco,” it says, “collaborates with skilled urban artists, turning urban, desert, and virtual environments into expressive canvases. Urban art, known for its transient nature, poses challenges in ownership. By capturing its fleeting essence in tangible forms, we showcase unique artifacts from our artists, bridging this gap.”

Inloco Initiative has been focusing on art performances and site-specific projects for 10 years and collects works by cutting-edge street artists, promoting their vision. Its Useless Palace art intervention was a collaborative artistic project by an international group of artists, which transformed an abandoned village in the Mleiha desert of Sharjah into an exhibition space.

Utilising the language of urban art, the artists engaged in a dialogue with the location, trying to reshape it through their vision. The deserted village, lost in the sands of time, was chosen for its significance as a representation of the UAE’s unique characteristics and historical power. It served as an intriguing canvas for the artists, whose work was deeply rooted in urban art. The setting redefined the interaction between urban art and its environment, with artists becoming both creators and audience, transforming discarded objects and spaces into meaningful artistic narratives.


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