Sorbonne Abu Dhabi Student Delegation Visits Abu Dhabi Art
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As part of the university’s efforts to hone and develop its students’ talents, provide them with practical training and interaction, and support art and artistic creation as symbols of societal progress and advancement, Paris – Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi (PSUAD) organized, yesterday, a day out for its students, at the 2013 Abu Dhabi Art fair, currently in its 5th edition, held at the Saadiyat Cultural District. Students discovered the pieces showcased by the annual contemporary and modern art exhibition, as well as its featured cultural programs, and engaged with artists and art professionals from around the world.

Students explored the various wings and enjoyed artwork presented by contemporary and modern art galleries, in addition to a rich collection of large-scale installations and sculptures. The current edition of Abu Dhabi Art saw the launch of a new section, titled Artists’ Waves, which places the discovery and re-discovery of artists at its core.

Prof. Eric Fouache, Vice-Chancellor of Paris-Sorbonne noted that, every year, the university’s administration is keen to organize a student visit to Abu Dhabi Art given its standing as an annual platform for modern and contemporary art, which brings together some of the most influential galleries from across the world. The fair allows students to discover great works of art, meet with the biggest names on the art scene, and learn about the latest artistic and architectural developments, at a global arts hub that serves to hone their creative spirit and imagination.

“Abu Dhabi Art is testimony to the continued development of the UAE as a nexus of regional art and highlights the UAE’s high standing in the eyes of the world and the awe and respect it inspires across all fields,” said Fouache.

Escorting the student delegation on their visit to Abu Dhabi Art, Dr. Ella Dardaillon, professor of archeology and art history at PSUAD, was keen to stop at the fair’s new section, Artists’ Waves, created for the discovery and re-discovery of artists. Artworks by innovative artists are presented in an exhibition designed to reflect the dynamism of new artistic movements and shifting perceptions of art. Artists’ Waves also include a special salon, where visitors engage with galleries representing the artists.

“During their visit, students discovered a wonderful catalogue of new film screenings, dance performances, and music as part of the multifaceted experience that is Art, Talks & Sensations: Dunes and Waves, in addition to the performance arts initiative Durub Al Tawaya, live performances, videos, music made by plants, poetic installations, “architectures” created by dancers in movement, and a dynamic, interdisciplinary set of initiatives featuring big-name artists, curators, collectors, gallerists, and scholar from around the world,” she said.

PSUAD students who visited Abu Dhabi Art observed that the fair represents a completely new concept in the modern art world. It is a distinctive platform that offers a rich palette of artwork that has never been showcased in quite the same way before. Students were impressed and thrilled by this year’s program, which highlights a number of important themes including the discovery of new art and artists; transnational perspectives on the notion of value and the various ways it is created; and the shifting scale of art – from architecture and monumental public works to art that sits in the palm of your hand.

Leonard Faber, a PSUAD student, said that he visited with his classmates Small Is Beautiful, part of this year’s Art, Talks & Sensations, which is a parallel exhibition that features small-scale artworks from galleries participating in the Modern, Contemporary, and Design section. The title is a tribute to the ‘Small Is Beautiful’ theory published in 1974 by the British economist E.F. Schumacher. These ‘small’ works are presented together as a meditation on the concept of scale in contemporary art and beyond.

Asma’ Al Rumaithi, also a PSUAD student, remarked that the Small Is Beautiful exhibit revealed to her new, different, and varied dimensions. The small-scale artworks represent separate entities and fragments of a complete work of art; side by side, each piece plays off the other pieces.

Another PSUAD student, Safia Sawli, noted that the delegation participated in the fair’s workshop that targets emerging designers and persons with a passion for design who are eager to explore their creative inspirations – offering them a new experience in creating their own artwork and exploring their creativity. She said that the visit to Abu Dhabi Art was also a perfect opportunity to engage with artists, curators, gallerists, and other enthusiasts.