"I like to create art that people think cannot be done" – Artist, Petr Weigl
Unique art, unique setting
As Dubai prepares itself for the opening of the new The Address Boulevard Dubai, artists have been gathered from around the world to create an interactive art gallery within the hotel's walls. The headliner? A large-scale wall installation by London-based artist Petr Weigl, beautifully, and strategically placed behind the main reception in the lobby.
Working with Weigl on this unique project is one of the world's leading art consultants, Janie Stanfield from Soho Myriad. Buro 24/7 Middle East spoke to both as they share their contributions in turning a common public space into a stunning art gallery.
The scale of this art project at The Address Boulevard Dubai is sizeable in more ways than one. Tell us about it...
Janie Stanfield (JS): The Address as a brand wants to bring something very fresh and new to Dubai, and this art programme fits perfectly with the aesthetic that the brand is trying to create. The collection itself is very eclectic – from paper sculptures to porcelain sculptures to alternative prints on metal... We have a lot of different types of artworks and I think guests will face something intriguing and interesting at every turn.
Petr, you were handpicked to create the piece behind the reception desk. What's the inspiration behind the piece and do you feel a weight of expectation?
Petr Weigl (PW): This is the piece that people will see first. It sets the tone for the kind of artworks that they're going to experience around the hotel. I feel the responsibility but in a nice way. This piece is a vision of something very contemporary and unique and it's something that transcends any one individual; it's about people and nature coming together and the piece is seemingly growing up the walls.
Your works are very conceptual. As an artist, would you prefer viewers to share the same conceptual views of your artworks or are you happy to embrace different interpretations?
PW: I like to provide some information about my work and then everybody can interpret or see it in slightly different ways. This helps to start conversations and thinking and this is preferable to me rather than telling everybody absolutely what I think. I like it to start conversations with a sort of starter page from me as a point of reference.
How do you approach new projects and how do you incorporate your life into your works?
PW: I was a graphic designer so my mind automatically works in positive and negative spaces. When you look at all of my work, you'll see a consideration of something that was in my past. I know that people, psychology, nature and mathematical patterns will always be a part of my work. My brain works very fast in developing the ideas once I understand the materials. I personally love pushing what I can do with my materials.
I like to create art with materials that people think cannot be done.
You utilise a lot of different processes in your art. Is it ever possible to recreate your works exactly the same way?
PW: No, it would drive me insane. Even if someone tells me they want the same thing, I can't because it's not even possible. Because the way you make each thing by hand ensures that nothing is ever the same. The materials in my case vary and different weather conditions allow for different results. There are so many elements that go into it. You can have the same enjoyment but each work will be unique.
Janie, you've been around the global art circuit. Do you think Arabic art is lacking something to take it to the next contemporary level?
JS: There is a huge art movement within the Middle East. There are a lot of contemporary artists in the region who are creating very interesting works. At the moment, a lot of it is politically charged, which is edgy and challenging. I just think it needs time, especially with the young artists. The angst eases up sometimes and then they just start making really remarkable work but it will always have a quality of their heritage. Every artist that I know, regardless of their medium, always incorporates something of their life into their work.
And what do you see being the next trend in art?
JS: Right now it's all about installation and interaction. In terms of experimental art, I think the biggest thing we'll see, in more public places and hotels, is very electronic. There will be more video installations on walls, artworks that move...
Now, read about the ongoing exhibition As Cold as a White Stone on show in Dubai now.
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