Hearing there’s a new exhibition at The Project Space is like music to our ears.
The venue, which is an auxiliary to the NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery, is currently displaying Symphoniae, the latest works of art by UAE-based Brazilian artist Elizabeth Dorazio.
The exhibition “revolves around the creation of harmony from disparity”, says the organisers. What you’ll see is a number of different objects being used together, forming a whole from different parts.
Each piece that makes up Symphoniae exists in a space between sculpture and craft work. We’re told they “evoke a kind of permanent movement, arising from the dynamic interactions between their disparate but complementary parts”. Quite.
Maybe we should hear from Dorazio herself.
She says: “I work with layers, much as a geologist works with layers. Or how an anatomist works with layers. My layers peel away, to reveal. They overlap, narrating new formations…I am interested in layers beyond mere artistic technique. To me, layers are accumulated memory, history, time.
“My practice is driven by the twin urges to deconstruct and to reconstruct. Recently, these layered works present a bi-cultural appropriation linking popular handicraft techniques of Bedouin women in the UAE, my current home, with vessels, iconic shapes and folk crafts, mainly from the Brazilian countryside of my youth.”
Dorazio was born and raised in Araguari, deep in the Brazilian hinterland. Her work, which centres on mixed-media works and installations, draws on the visual cultures and popular techniques of both homes. Throughout her career she has shown a preoccupation with movement and instability.
Her works are often a mixture of classic textures and materials and more obtuse elements, such as X-Ray fragments and pieces of chairs. Symphoniae is no different as she uses the temperamental medium of egg tempera alongside more popular art techniques.
Al-khous palm frond weavings, crafted by Emirati Bedouin women, spiral throughout the work, forming the basic backdrop across which other elements move and weave, some crafted, some appropriated.
The eclectic components of Symphoniae invite multiple interpretations, and raise the question of what it means to cannibalise other cultures. By appropriating materials that were constructed by the hands of others, Dorazio has incorporated these other voices into her works.
The Project Space can be found in The Arts Center in NYU Abu Dhabi. It’s a gallery dedicated to non-commercial community projects. It hosts exhibitions generated by the communities in and around the university’s campus, including those by artists based in the UAE, with the intention of providing the more experimental and explorative artists with somewhere to display their work.
Symphoniae runs until Sat June 23. The Project Space, The Arts Center, NYU Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island (02 628 4000).