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Galleria Continua’s pop-up space will be open until 30 January

text Francesca Lombardi
photo Adham Almalla
courtesy the artist and Galleria Continua

December 13, 2021

Galleria Continua in Dubai

Anish Kapoor opens the pop-up space of Galleria Continua

Galleria Continua has just inaugurated a new exhibition space inside one of the most beautiful hotels in the world, the iconic, super star-studded, sail-shaped Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, along the largest and most exclusive private beach in Dubai.  It opens with one of the most heavy-weight names on the international art scene, Anish Kapoor, who has worked with Galleria Continua for over 25 years. 

The gallery comes to Dubai after having already exhibited at San Gimignano’s old Cinema-Theatre (the historic site of the gallery, opened in 1990), at a Bauhaus-styled former factory in Beijing (2004), at the site of two old mills and an industrial paper factory in the Parisian countryside named ‘Les Moulins’ (2007), at a cinema in Havana’s China Town (2015), at the Pacaembu sports complex in Sao Paulo (2020), more recently, at a space within the ‘The St. Regis’ hotel in Rome (2020), and, finally at the multifunctional site opened last January in the heart of Paris. 

Anish Kapoor, Red satin and Black Mist 2019 stainless steel and lacquer in unique work

In reality, this is not the gallery’s first time in Dubai, since it has long participated in the art fairs Art Dubai, since 2008, and Abu Dhabi Art, since 2012. As the three founders of the gallery, Mario Cristiani, Lorenzo Fiaschi and Maurizio Rigillo, tell us, “The network of relationships and friendships built up over this period of time are the humus that have given shape, meaning and substance to this new project. 

Our experience opening a pop-up in Dubai is not only an opportunity to consolidate and strengthen our bond with the United Arab Emirates, but also a way to contribute, with our energies, and, above all, with the universal language of art, to the construction of dialogue and cultural exchanges between different populations. We believe that art is the ideal territory for expressing oneself, for stimulating and making changes happen, for growing together while respecting differences, and in the awareness that multiculturalism means enrichment for all of us”. 

Anish Kapoor’s solo exhibition at the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah offers an opportunity to get an overview of the artist’s 30 years of work, and to see some compelling previously unseen pieces, alongside several iconic ones. The exhibition focuses on the use of matter and colour as an experience of the senses, which is a perfect match for the incredible suspended spaces of the hotel. 

A British citizen of Indian origin, Kapoor was born in Bombay in 1954, and moved to London to study art at the age of 19. 

Anish Kapoor, Disc 2010 (alabaster in unique work) Registration is required for access to the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah:

He with describes himself as “a painter who is a sculptor, because sculpture is presence in the world”. His art is born from the intersection of the two disciplines, as a means to “go beyond” by way of illusion. This is a concept that is crystal clear in his rarely exhibited alabaster sculptures, in which Kapoor has carefully removed precise sections from square blocks of the mineral. Playing with light, the senses and perception, his works invite the viewer to reflect on the concept of infinity and the mysteries of time, buried in form and substance. Thanks to the translucent qualities of alabaster, the artist reinforces the sense of passage from painting to sculpture, and from painting to an aerial dissolution that, finally, becomes light. In general, Kapoor’s works make you lose your points of reference, disorientating and destabilizing you, yet retaining their fascination, despite their sometimes catastrophic value. The exhibition in Dubai tells of the evolution of the artist’s language, while remaining faithful to his study of matter and colour. Kapoor’s works are permanently exhibited in the most important collections and museums around the world, from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York to the Tate Gallery in London, the Prada Foundation in Milan, and the Guggenheim Museums in Venice, Bilbao and Abu Dhabi. His major public projects include: Cloud Gate (2004), at Millennium Park, Chicago, Illinois; Leviathan (2011), at Monumenta 2011, Paris; Orbit (2012), at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London; Ark Nova, the world’s first inflatable concert hall created for the Lucerne Festival, Japan (2013); Descension (2014), recently installed at Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York (2017); and HOWL (2020), at Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2020–2021). In April 2022, Anish Kapoor will be the first British artist to exhibit a major solo show at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice. 

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