Ways of Seeing to open in Abu Dhabi in September

 Fred Sandback. Untitled (Sculptural Study, Twenty-two-part Vertical Construction) 1991-2016, black and red acrylic yarn, dimensions variable. The Estate of Fred Sandback. Courtesy David Zwirner

Fred Sandback. Untitled (Sculptural Study, Twenty-two-part Vertical Construction) 1991-2016, black and red acrylic yarn, dimensions variable. The Estate of Fred Sandback. Courtesy David Zwirner

Based on John Berger's seminal 1972 text on visual culture, the group exhibition titled Ways of Seeing is set to open in New York University Abu Dhabi's gallery after the summer. The text and accompanying groundbreaking BBC documentary series, shifted the emphasis of art criticism away from the professional art-expert and relocated it within the grasp of the layperson. In taking its cue from Berger's argument, this exhibition invites the viewer to actively engage with the artwork, and to explore the ways by which artists assign forms and concepts that seem familiar with renewed appearances and meanings.

Featuring artists such as James Turrell, Hans-Peter Feldmann, and Fred Sandback, who blur the boundaries between the artwork and the space in which it is displayed, the exhibition is deliberately accessible and thought provoking. Curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, the prominent duo who are founders of the multi-disciplinary curatorial platform Art Reoriented, and co-chairmen of the Montblanc Cultural Foundation, the exhibition is an attempt to re-configure our perception, as viewers, of the world around us. 

“Artists use form and technique to express something about themselves and the world. Each of the artworks on display beckons us to take a second look, upon which the contours of a new reality begin to emerge,"  Sam Bardaouil said.

 Thomas Struth Hermitage 2m St. Petersburg, 2005. Chromogenic print, 114 x 114.8 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris/London.

Thomas Struth Hermitage 2m St. Petersburg, 2005. Chromogenic print, 114 x 114.8 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris/London.

This is the third edition of the exhibition, which opened at ARTER – Space for Art in in Istanbul last summer. The curators then reconfigured the exhibition for its second venue, the Boghossian Foundation – Villa Empain in Brussels in the winter of 2017, bringing in a number of new artists and artworks. The third iteration of the exhibition in Abu Dhabi has been adapted to include new works by Andreas Gursky, Mona Hatoum, Michelangelo Pistoletto Cindy Sherman, and Thomans Struth. Notably it will also include two Emirati artists: Lateefa bint Maktoum and Hassan Sharif.

“We encourage viewers to be active rather than passive in the way they look at the works in this exhibition. There is no one ‘correct’ way to look at art, and our wish is that our audiences should both be aware of and embrace their individual reactions and points of view, as these are borne of unique personal experiences," said. Till Fellrath.

Ways of Seeing, curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, features works by 26 internationally-acclaimed artists and artist collectives from the region and the world. It will run September 3 - November 17, 2018