'Rhodiola' commission by Alserkal Arts Foundation opens in Alserkal Avenue
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
18 March 2019 — The programme-based commission Rhodiola opened in Alserkal Avenue today. Commissioned by Alserkal Arts Foundation, Rhodiola is curated by Athens-based collective 3 137—made up of artists Chrysanthi Koumianaki, former Alserkal Residency artist-in-residence Kosmas Nikolaou, and Paky Vlassopoulou. It opened on 18 March 2019 during Art Week at Alserkal Avenue at Warehouse 90 (formerly Nadi Al Quoz).
Alserkal Arts Foundation, which was announced on 18 March 2019 by Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, supports socially engaged, multi-disciplinary practices and facilitates cross-cultural exchange through its four core initiatives: public art commissions, residencies, research grants and educational programmes. The Foundation offers cultural practitioners – either based in Dubai, or whose practice critically investigates themes pertinent to the region's artistic community – opportunities for research, scholarship, and artistic production. All of Alserkal Arts Foundation’s activities are supported by Alserkal, an Emirati family business spearheaded by Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal.
Rhodiola acts as an informal group portrait of participants, visitors, and hosts, and explores the idea of maintenance in everyday life. Borrowing its title from the rhodiola rosea flower, a perennial golden root which grows in wild Arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America, the commission is inspired by rhodiola’s healing properties and its ability to help combat stress, anxiety and fatigue. Rhodiola challenges ordinary perceptions of domestic life and public affairs, and offers a place for moments of active pause.
“Rhodiola is a time-based and people-oriented project, with the objective of creating a temporary community, a group of people who are engaged in new encounters and shared experiences,” says 3 137. “The collaborative aspect of the project reflects the ethos of 3 137, intending to generate a value-system where diverse voices act independently, but also interact within the shared responsibility of creating a tool for a common imaginary space.”
3 137, an artist run space founded in 2012, endeavours to create meeting points for exchange, discussion, and research. Its practices, which focus on artistic production, collaboration, and hospitality, are engaged with the environment in which they are presented—as they will be throughout the duration of Rhodiola. “A programme-based commission, it demarcates spatial geography and challenges our perceptions around the commodification of public space through numerous immersive interventions within the built environment of Alserkal Avenue,” says Vilma Jurkute, Alserkal Director. “The collective will closely engage with the many publics of Dubai through its six-week programme, shaping new patterns of social production here.”
For six weeks, Rhodiola will unfold through talks and interviews, exhibitions,
performances, screenings, and community activities. It will run sporadically, at variable tempos, acting as an amplifier at times and as an ambiance at others. Looking at hybrid forms of communication, Rhodiola takes its inspiration from radio frequencies, and will come to life across five Waves.
More information on each Wave can be found at rhodiola.ae
Wave 1: AC/Scaffold
Staging your well-being: domesticity / infrastructure / support / urbanist / futurology /ruin / artificial / setting / programme / communication / transport / handle / zero carbon / haunt / process / decoration
Wave 2: Cookies
An invisible statistical map: comfort / biscuit / language / geography / immaterial / tube / high performance / queue / contract / start up / franchise / labour / convention / customer / demands
Wave 3: Dentist
For the making of the perfect Avatar: profit / cleaning / care / stereotypes / normal vs casual / duties / internship / coaching / rescue / post human / cabinet /mechanics / hucksterism / spectacular
Wave 4: Snooze
Be ready to be cured and listen to your personalised divination: oracle / cosmism / benefit / concentration / treatment / beautician / meditation / transit / school / degrowth / divination / preemptive / superheroes
Wave 5: Sunscreen
A casual service: tourism / dog walker / slow food / happiness / psychoanalysis / upbringing / trainer / online banking / service / state / customer / pen friend / love affair / handle / transmission
(Image credit: Rhodiola by 3 137 in Warehouse 90, Alserkal Avenue. Photography by Nikolas Leventakis & Manolis Foinikianakis)
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, its renowned cultural district of contemporary art galleries, non-profit organizations and homegrown businesses, Alserkal has cultivated a creative economy in Dubai, supporting cultural production and spearheading disruptive business models, including the OMA-designed, Concrete, a state-of-the-art exhibitions and alternative space. In addition, Alserkal supports public art commissions, residencies, research grants and educational programs through its nonprofit, Alserkal Arts Foundation.
About Alserkal Arts Foundation
The Alserkal Arts Foundation supports socially engaged, multi-disciplinary practices and facilitates cross-cultural exchange through its four core initiatives: public art commissions, residencies, research grants and educational programmes. The Foundation offers cultural practitioners – either based in Dubai, or whose practice critically investigates themes pertinent to the region's artistic community – opportunities for research, scholarship, and artistic production. All of Alserkal Arts Foundation’s activities are supported by Alserkal, an Emirati family business spearheaded by Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal.
About Alserkal Avenue
Established in 2008 by Alserkal, 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. 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, and is an adaptable venue whose 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.
About 3 137
3 137 is an artist run space based in Athens. It was founded in 2012 (by Chrysanthi Koumianaki, Kosmas Nikolaou, and Paky Vlassopoulou). The space is an independent initiative run by artists, having as aim to create a meeting point for exchange, discussion and research. Its projects place emphasis on artistic production, collaboration and hospitality, and explore hybrid forms of being together. 3 137 also runs an ad hoc publishing house, called Polar Bear, that commissions new artists’ books.
Since 2016, 3 137 is developing a research, together with the art historian and curator Klea Charitou, regarding the greek art scene of the 70s, presented through public talks, lectures, screenings, educational workshops and a publication which is going to be released next year.
In the meantime, the space has frozen its indoors program for a while and has established an immaterial institution named Gabriela, inspired by the first intern who worked at 3 137. Gabriela sets up a discussion on labor issues in the art world while looking for different, parallel and possible communities. She is triggered by institutional critique together with the need to make a living and be sustainable.