Desert X AlUla has announced the artists participating in its third edition, set to run from 9 February to 23 March 2024.
Fifteen new works have been commissioned to 17 international artists. See the full list below:
Ayman Yossri Daydban
Monira Al Qadiri
Rand Abdul Jabbar
Curated by Maya El Khalil and Marcello Dantas, with artistic direction from Raneem Farsi and Neville Wakefield, Desert X AlUla 2024 will take place as part of AlUla Arts Festival, running from 9 February to 2 March 2024. Themed In the Presence of Absence, the exhibition and explores he notions of the unseen and the inexpressible, presenting new perspectives of the desert landscape – often considered a place of desolation and monotony – by engaging with the atmospheric conditions of wind and light as well as the forces of time, history and myths woven into AlUla.
Sara Alissa and Nojoud Alsudairi turn the landscape into a self-reflective arrangement in Invisible Possibilities: When the Earth Began to Look at Itself. Through different viewpoints and approaches, the work aims to reshape viewers’ understanding of the site’s ecological transition and its physical geographies. As we enter the cylindrical form of Kimsooja’s work, between iridescent walls, visitors are drawn in and out to the center of a spiral. The chromatic walls of To Breathe – AlUla distils light that has travelled aeons into prisms that dance across the visitor and the landscape.
Sara Alissa and Nojoud Alsudairi’s Invisible Possibilities: When the Earth Began to Look at Itself reshapes the viewer’s understanding of its topography, while Kimsooja presents To Breathe – AlUla, a large-scale installation in the form of a spiral that interacts with light.
Ayman Yossri Daydban’s commission, Bosco Sodi’s When I saw my reflection and Caline Aoun’s The Desert has No Surface all consist of stones and rocks sourced from the surrounding landscape of AlUla, while Rana Haddad and Pascal Hashem as well as Ibrahim Mahama engage with traditional crafts in their works.
Karola Braga draws on AlUla’s history as the centre of the Incense Route trade through an olfactory installation entitled Sfumato. Faisal Samra’s The Dot also explores the area’s history, showing how Wadi AlFann originated from a mere crack.
In Weird Life: An ode to desert varnish Aseel AlYaqoub reflects on the characteristic yellow, orange, red and black hues that naturally appear in AlUla’s landscape, while Monira Al Qadiri’s W.A.B.A.R and Filwa Nazer’s Preserving Shadows delve into legends and beliefs surrounding the desert oasis.
Rand Abdul Jabbar’s Where myths are born of mud and desire is composed of five sculptures narrating the story of Venus, and Giuseppe Penone and Kader Attia consider environmental themes in The Logic of the Vegetal – Metamorphosis and Whistleblower respectively. A special commission by Tino Sehgal, (un titled), looks at the relationship between the desert environment and human intervention through the use of movement and sound.
Alongside the commissions, the third edition of Desert X AlUla features a programme of events including curator and artist talks, primary school visits, art workshops and music events.
Desert X AlUla 2024 takes place across various locations in the desert oasis, including Wadi AlFann, Harrat Uwayrid and the AlManshiyah Plaza featuring AlManshiyah Railway Station.