Located in Dubai’s Al Quoz district in Al Khayat Avenue, NIKA Project Space is a new platform for artistic experiments, research and the advancement of curatorial practice for both local and international artists. The space provides a critically engaged program that emphasizes contemporaneity and cross-cultural dialogue in art creation with a focus on conceptualization, abstraction, and philosophical inquiry with a strong focus on the works by female artists.
For its first exhibition, NIKA Project Space will present a group show titled Fragments of Time Unending, on view through April 23, 2023. Curated by Sarah Daher, a Lebanese curator based in Dubai, the show features six artists, including: Olga Chernysheva, Nika Neelova, Adrian Pepe, Muhannad Shono and Alexander Ugay.
Encompassing a variety of mediums such as painting, sculpture, photography, and digital media, the exhibition examines the theme of time as both a constant and a subjective experience, as reflected in the title.
The works on view explore the transience of life through reflection on both the fragility, beauty, and power of the everyday, prompting spectators to also ponder their relationship to time and everyday life.
“At the core of this exhibition is the idea that time is both a constant and a subjective experience. It is the unifying thread that connects all human experiences, shaping our memories, relationships, and perceptions of the world. The works on display invite the viewer to consider their own experiences of time through a reflection on the transience of life,” says curator Sarah Daher.
Daher juxtaposes the artworks according to their aesthetic and message. For instance, I’m Sorry from Above (2016), a delicate ink on paper work by Saudi artist Muhannad Shono interprets moments of trauma that has catapulted the globe from a satellite distance in miniature form. It is throwing the scale out of balance on multiple axes. In a similar vein, Kazakh artist Alexander Ugay’s installation series Obscurations (2018) showcases layered abstractions that are inspired by real-world events and are then reconstructed as pinhole-camera-inspired objects and subsequently photographed in space. The concept of time in these works is so precisely deconstructed that it becomes nearly invisible — an unknown variable that nearly ceases to exist and yet maintains itself as a principal element in both works.
On the other hand, Russian artist Olga Chernysheva’s Flowers Riot (2022), an oil on canvas painting, offers an explosion of color in a violent manifestation of hues and abstract forms just as Nika Neelova’s reclaimed mahogany handrails assume the shape of a circular infinite loop through recycled material. These abstract objects serendipitously show the effects of time as agents of change.
In the porous expanses of Adrian Pepe’s textile work, one can materially feel the reimagining of historically- significant craft and the time-ridden mechanics of physical labor.
Founder of NIKA Project Space Veronika Berezina explains, “This show highlights the vision and mission of the NIKA Project Space. The artists present and implement research, a multidisciplinary and conceptual approach in their work. We want to elaborate on how time could be represented by different artists from different regions and through different mediums, fostering and expanding a dialogue between cultures, regions and generations, and show how connected we all are through the basic notion of time.”
Press release from NIKA Project Space.