For the first time in its 22 years of existence, Dubai's most famous hotel, the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, is hosting an art exhibition in a new, temporary onsite space. Running until January 2022, the inaugural show is dedicated to a solo presentation of unseen works by the British-Indian artist Anish Kapoor.
Located on the hotel's first floor, the pop-up space will run for at least six months. The project is a first-time collaboration between the luxury hospitality landmark and Galleria Continua, which has represented the artist for more than two decades.
Displayed against an expansive ocean view are seven of Kapoor's sculptures: two large, coloured discs made from lacquered stainless steel and executed in 2021; highly polished, reflective steel globes from his 2017 Alice series, which references Lewis Carroll's children's novel Alice in Wonderland; and works made from alabaster. "His work speaks to everyone," says Galleria Continua's co-founder Lorenzo Fiaschi at the press preview. "It speaks about the universe: colours, reflection, light."
Kapoor was absent from the press preview due to pandemic-related travel restrictions, but the hotel's general manager Ermanno Zanini joined Fiaschi to deliver speeches at the opening. "Art is a strong element for Burj Al Arab, for Dubai as well. The hotel itself is a piece of art. It's a sculpture," says Zanini, who initiated the artistic partnership between the Burj and Galleria Continua.
Located on a man-made island, the sail-shaped hotel's inclusion of a contemporary art space is designed to enhance the experience of its guests. According to Continua's website, the space can be accessed via reservation by art collectors, advisors, curators, and lovers.
While Fiaschi's gallery, which has outposts in China, France and Cuba, among others, does not have a permanent space in the region, it has long participated in the UAE's home-grown fairs: Art Dubai and Abu Dhabi Art.