DUBAI: Since its inauguration in 1999, Dubai’s most supreme hotel, Burj Al Arab, has been home to luxury, comfort, and now, contemporary art. Thanks to a six-month collaboration with Galleria Continua — representing the likes of Ai Weiwei, Michelangelo Pistoletto, JR, among others — a new, white cube-like art space has opened, for the first time in the history of the hotel, for guests to visit. The idea was initiated by Burj Al Arab’s general manager, Ermanno Zanini, aiming to enrich guests’ stay with art.
The gallery, which originally opened in the Tuscan town of San Gimignano in 1990 and has since expanded to Beijing, Havana and Paris, is displaying in its Dubai pop-up edition seven rare and sculptural works by the acclaimed British-Indian artist Anish Kapoor. Internationally, some of Kapoor’s most recognizable public projects include Chicago’s kidney bean-shaped sculpture and the Orbit tower of London’s Olympic Park.
In Dubai, Kapoor’s displayed minimalist work includes large discs, mirrored steel globes and alabaster sculptures, experimenting with light, color, materiality and form. As seen at the press preview, his work invited curiosity from visitors, reflected in some of the artworks. There is, according to Galleria Continua’s co-founder Lorenzo Fiaschi, something “universal” about his art. “Anish has this quality of being a rhythm teller,” he told Arab News. “So, it’s really easy to touch the soul of all culture, starting from India to the Middle East and Latin America.”
Overlooking the ocean, the art space at Burj Al Arab is simple and chic, flooded with natural light. “It was difficult for me to leave the space,” said Fiaschi. “I see myself in a temple of light. I feel really comfortable. It is peaceful. It was a big emotion and a personal experience that I didn’t expect, honestly.” He regards this Emirati pop-up as a manifestation of the gallery’s ethos of continuous learning and building bridges globally through art.
A longtime participant of the UAE’s art fairs, Fiaschi and his team aspire to one day establish a permanent gallery in the country. Until then, this temporary exhibition is on view until the end of January of 2022 and will be accessible, through reservation, for art enthusiasts and professionals.