Is This Tomorrow?

Sep 05,2019

Alserkal Arts Foundation has just announced its collaboration with a landmark exhibition titled, Is This Tomorrow? The exhibition will be presented in and around Concrete, at Alserkal Avenue in Dubai, from 6-23 November 2019, in collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery, London.

It is curated by Whitechapel Gallery chief curator Lydia Yee, and it 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 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.

Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, Founder of Alserkal, says: “Alserkal Arts Foundation is delighted to partner with Whitechapel to share such an important and groundbreaking exhibition with our audiences in Dubai and the UAE. Our presentation of Is This Tomorrow? not only furthers our mission of championing collaborative, socially engaged, and multi-disciplinary practices, but also reinforces Dubai’s position as an epicentre for a broader dialogue on the role of architecture in the region.”

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 a new iteration of Phoenix Will Rise, originally presented at Whitechapel, ‘focused on hope’ that will be created specifically for The Yard, Alserkal Avenue. Tabassum says: “It is a place of refuge - a space for reflection - contemplation. The highlight of the installation is Rana Begum’s beautiful art piece around the central oculus that catches light and frames the sky. The architecture builds around it to create a setting and atmosphere of repose, all the while appropriating the context Alserkal Avenue.” Begum, who is represented by The Third Line in Alserkal Avenue, says: “We live in a world where the boundaries between disciplines are increasingly blurred, and where technology enables us to connect with each other wherever we are.

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.