Is This Tomorrow?

Is This Tomorrow?


Tatiana Bilbao, collage drawing for Mind Garden, Heart Garden, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.


September 3, 2019
Is This Tomorrow?
A collaboration between Alserkal Arts Foundation and Whitechapel Gallery at Concrete, Dubai
November 6–23, 2019
Alserkal Avenue, Street 17
United Arab Emirates
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Alserkal Arts Foundation will bring Is This Tomorrow? to Dubai from November 6–23, 2019, in collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery, London. The exhibition, curated by Whitechapel Gallery chief curator Lydia Yee, responds to timely contemporary issues to offer speculative visions of the future through four pairings between leading artists and architects, including a new site-specific commission by visual artist Rana Begum and architect Marina Tabassum, winner of the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

The interdisciplinary experiential installations, environments, and pavilions by Amalia Pica and 6a, Cao Fei and mono office, Mariana Castillo Deball and Tatiana Bilbao Estudio, and Rana Begum and Marina Tabassum Architects reveal the expansive potential of collaboration between art and architecture, in line with the wider November in Alserkal Avenue programme. Throughout the month, exhibitions, commissions, talks, and guest projects will delve into the confluence of art, design, and architecture

Is This Tomorrow? will take place in and around Concrete, the Office for Metropolitan Architecture-designed building that was shortlisted for the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. This exhibition raises important questions about how art and architecture can work together, and reinforces Dubai’s position as an epicentre for a broader dialogue on the role of architecture in the region.

Is This Tomorrow? was first shown at Whitechapel Gallery, London from February 14–May 12, 2019. For the Dubai iteration of the exhibition, four pairings of international artists and architects will investigate universal topics including borders, privacy, living space, and our relationship with technology. Visual artist Rana Begum (Bangladesh) and architect Marina Tabassum (Bangladesh) will collaborate on an iteration of Phoenix Will Rise, a site-specific installation ‘focused on hope’ that will be unveiled in The Yard, Alserkal Avenue.

Begum and Tabassum drew inspiration from their original installation shown at Whitechapel Gallery to create a new iteration of Phoenix Will Rise, which appropriates the context of Alserkal Avenue. Tabassum describes the installation as “a place of refuge—a space for reflection—contemplation”. Begum, who is represented by The Third Line gallery in Alserkal Avenue, says her collaboration with Tabassum pushes the boundaries between art and architecture in “a playful way”.

6a architects (UK) collaborate with artist Amalia Pica (Argentina) to explore the way architecture proscribes our relationship with animals through a maze-like environment made of an enclosure, blurring the boundaries between human and animal. Exploring another relationship, the one between people and technology, mono office (China) and Cao Fei (China) conceive a prototype for a machine that dispenses objects and emotions to represent and imagine possible futures.

Mariana Castillo Deball’s (Mexico) sculptural work relating to the Mesoamerican calendar, Tonalpohualli, is brought together with Tatiana Bilbao’s (Mexico) architectural exploration of the human need to be isolated—yet communally connected.

Is This Tomorrow? is based on the seminal exhibition This is Tomorrow, which took place at Whitechapel Gallery in 1956. Envisioned by architect and critic Theo Crosby, the exhibition brought 38 artists and architects together into 12 groups, including Eduardo Paolozzi, Erno Goldfinger, Richard Hamilton, James Stirling and Alison and Peter Smithson, and is now widely considered a watershed of post-war British Art. Is This Tomorrow? expands on the vision of the original exhibition by showcasing the works of international practitioners, all of whom were born after the original exhibition took place.

The Dubai iteration of Is This Tomorrow? is a collaboration between Alserkal Arts Foundation and Whitechapel Gallery, London. The exhibition is co-commissioned by Whitechapel Gallery, London and MAAT, Lisbon.

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September 3, 2019

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