The landmark exhibition responded to timely contemporary issues to offer speculative visions of the future through four interdisciplinary installations, environments, and pavilions, presented in and around Concrete, at Alserkal Avenue.

Alserkal Arts Foundation showcased the landmark exhibition ‘Is This Tomorrow?’ in and around Concrete, at Alserkal Avenue, in collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery, London. The exhibition, curated by Whitechapel Gallery chief curator Lydia Yee, responded to timely contemporary issues to offer speculative visions of the future through four pairings between leading artists and architects, including a new site-specific commission by visual artist Rana Begum and architect Marina Tabassum, winner of the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

The interdisciplinary installations, environments, and pavilions by Amalia Pica and 6a, Cao Fei and mono office, Mariana Castillo Deball and Tatiana Bilbao Estudio, and Rana Begum and Marina Tabassum Architects revealed the expansive potential of collaboration between art and architecture.

‘Is This Tomorrow?’ was first shown at Whitechapel Gallery, London from 14 February – 12 May 2019. For the Dubai iteration of the exhibition, four pairings of international artists and architects investigated universal topics including borders, privacy, living space, and our relationship with technology. Visual artist Rana Begum (Bangladesh) and architect Marina Tabassum (Bangladesh) collaborated on a new iteration of Phoenix Will Rise, originally presented at Whitechapel, ‘focused on hope’ that will be created specifically for The Yard, Alserkal Avenue.

About Alserkal Avenue

Established by Alserkal in 2008, Alserkal Avenue is a renowned cultural district of contemporary art galleries, non-profit organisations, and homegrown businesses in the Al Quoz industrial area of Dubai. Spread across 500,000 square feet, Alserkal Avenue is a vibrant community of visual and performing arts organisations, designers, and artisanal spaces that have become an essential platform for the development of the creative industries in the United Arab Emirates. As one of the region's foremost platforms for contemporary art, Alserkal Avenue provides cultural experiences for local, regional, and international audiences.

Alserkal Avenue features Concrete, a multi-disciplinary space conceptualised and programmed by Alserkal. Concrete was inaugurated in 2017 as the first building in the UAE to be completed by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), founded by Rem Koolhaas. An adaptable venue, Concrete's ability to metamorphose to bring creative visions to life makes it suitable for international, museum-grade exhibitions as well as events across art, design, fashion and the performing arts.

Concrete has been shortlisted for the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture, marking the first time a project in Dubai has been shortlisted for this prestigious award. This is also the first time a project by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture has been shortlisted.

Founded by Emirati businessman and patron, Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, in 2007, Alserkal is a socially responsible cultural enterprise, which is deeply engaged with the arts locally, regionally, and internationally. Through Alserkal Avenue, Alserkal has cultivated a creative economy in Dubai, supporting cultural production and spearheading disruptive business models, including the OMA-designed Concrete.

Image Credits

Thumbnail Image:
Collage drawing for Mind Garden, Heart Garden
Courtesy Tatiana Bilbao Estudio

Header Image:
Test samples for Phoenix Will Rise
Spray paint on paper
Courtesy Rana Begum

Gallery Images:
Courtesy 6a architects and Amalia Pica

Cao Fei and mono office
I want to be the future
Metal frame, Chinese brick, vinyl, audio visual and electrical equipment
Installation vie: Whitechapel Gallery, London
Image courtesy: Brotherton-Lock