A Striking Fusion of Light and Dark

In a captivating exploration of the interplay between light and dark, the ICD Brookfield Place Arts in Dubai is set to host the Chiaroscuro exhibition, featuring a curated collection of works by 20 international renowned artists and designers. Including Rick Owens, Nacho Carbonell, and Studio Drift, alongside leading regional voices like Latifa Saeed and Omar Al Gurg. Curated by the visionary Michèle Lamy and presented in collaboration with Carpenters Workshop Gallery, the exhibition promises to be a transformative experience for art enthusiasts.

Braided 6 (2013)
Latifa Saeed
Spike 1 (2020)
Omar Al Gurg
Photo by Menat El Abd
Curial Aluminum (2022)
Rick Owens

Scheduled to open on February 27, 2024, Chiaroscuro draws inspiration from the contrasting landscape of Dubai as it transitions from day to night. Lamy has divided the exhibition into two distinct states: “The Darkness” and “The Light,” symbolizing the dichotomy of shadows and illumination.

“The Darkness” welcomes visitors into a mysterious space where beguiling forms take shape. Renowned artist Rick Owens anchors this section with the tigré pattern of his Gallic Chair, utilizing rich materials such as stone and wood to evoke alternating shadows. Wendell Castle’s imposing The Light of Darkness and Atelier Van Lieshout’s industrial Blast Furnace Cabinet and Mammal Lamp further explore the synthesis of man and machine. Kendell Geers then disrupts and stimulates viewers with the subdued, masked pieces in the collection, “Flesh of the Spirit.” By blending bronze with weathered and fragmented materials, provocatively challenging conventional notions of African art, urging a reconsideration of our perceptions within this innovative exploration.

Rick Owens
Black Plywood, Orso Leather Upholstery
The Light of Darkness (2012)
Wendell Castle

Moving into “The Light,” the exhibition celebrates light as ‘nature’s sculptor.’ The transformative power of light is showcased through the works of artists such as Studio Drift, who use hundreds of dandelion heads in Fragile Futures, and the Verhoeven Twins, creating valleys and voids inviting viewers to explore shape and light through floating glass bubble sculptures.

Chiaroscuro endeavours to redefine the essence of materiality within its showcased objects, pushing the boundaries of medium, colour, and finishing. For instance, this is evident in the sleek, artistically curved concrete of Rick Owens’ Pedaló chair and the rare marble of Curial White Marble, as well as Vincenzo de Cotiis’ reinterpretation of Renaissance arches, and the adaptable nature of stone and glass in David/Nicolas’ table Constellation C020.

Rick Owens
Black Plywood, Orso Leather Upholstery
Flesh of the Spirit 2154 (2021)
Kendell Geers

In a parallel exploration, Khaled Zaki’s marble sculpture, Serene, extends his recent thematic exploration, using abstract, geometric forms to represent human and animal subjects. Latifa Saeed draws from the traditional hair braiding practices of women in the United Arab Emirates, presenting a unique edition of her Braided series in collaboration with Studio MĒRU. Zeinab Alhashemi, a conceptual artist, delves into diverse materials to position viewers on the elusive boundary between the natural and artificial. Despite evoking the familiar colours and textures of traditional landscapes, Alhashemi’s work introduces a compelling contrast through the incorporation of industrial materials like steel, prompting reflections on human interference.

Serene (2023)
Khalid Zaki
Camouflage 2 (2022)
Zeinab Alhashemi
Inside a Forest Cloud (113/2019)
Nacho Carbonell

Transforming the central atrium of ICD Brookfield Place into a haven of innovation, Chiaroscuro features groundbreaking works by today’s most exciting global talents in art and design. This exhibition underscores the profound significance of both day and night in shaping our comprehension of the world, emphasizing that one cannot exist without the other.

Chiaroscuro at ICD Brookfield Place Arts, beyond an exhibition, is a testament to the institution’s commitment to supporting and showcasing talent. Under Abu-Qaoud’s leadership, the program fosters collaboration, offering a space for experimentation, and Chiaroscuro emerges as a beacon of creativity, enriching the Dubai community globally.

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Leen is a writer, designer and creative director, holding a fashion design degree from ESMOD. She is currently pursuing an MBA in fashion management, specializing in luxury, in Paris. Living in various Western and Eastern locales, Leen writes on fashion, culture, and lifestyle at KHAMSA as she interns in the editorial department.