A showcase featuring contemporary art from China, What About The Art? is the latest exhibit to hit the Al Riwaq Gallery, and one of the many events tied with Qatar China 2016.
Curated by internationally acclaimed New York based Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang, the exhibit is filled with the different artworks of 15 different contemporary Chinese artists. Artworks exemplifying each and every artist’s unique artistic language and methodology is displayed in individual galleries, Cai Guo-Qiang’s way of showing how distinct each artist is creatively. (*)
This exhibit was so much more interesting for me than the last one, ‘Intolerance by Luc Tuymans.’ where I got so bored I nearly left without seeing everything. I guess that kind of art just ain’t my thing. This exhibition on the other hand, kept me engaged the whole time.
Here you can find anything from modern art made of blocks of wood and metal, to installations that use the powerful force of water to make you feel something. You can also find the unexpected, like beautiful art made from trash and otherworldly designs for video games. Biggest unexpected (but totally expected thanks to local media) installation: a giant octopus!
Lovely canvasses that look like they have millions of flowers stuck to them, when really the artist just used a lot of oil paint in a pastry bag! It was really hard to resist the temptation to poke it…
Art made from different materials stuck together to create one picture.
Giant sculptures made from the same material as dog chew bones. If only I could have snuck something home for the dogs.
And other works that made me think of all the dystopian YA books I’ve read.
I hated this part of the exhibition the most. I don’t get how or why it can even be considered as art. I heard the whines and moans of the dogs even when I was in the next room and it broke my heart. I think its just a complete downer after everything else I saw.
Then comes one of my favourite parts! I love seeing concept art for video games and animated movies, and these were amazing. I really wanted to get my hands on the game, only if to explore the world to see more of the art. The concepts for the games seemed a bit boring though, but you can’t have zombies and assassins in every game I guess!
We even got a chance to try out the 3 different video games, all with art designed by the same artist. An exhibit where you get to play video games? Definitely a winner in my book.
And now, my favourite piece of the whole exhibit.
This is actually one of the first things you see, and you don’t get what’s particularly special about it until you read the description on the wall. You walk into the giant room, and look at this gorgeous piece and you wonder if it’s a painting, a silk screen print, or something similar. You’re reminded of the artwork you’ve seen from movies like Mulan, or in books about Chinese art and history. Not once would you think to look behind it.
But then you read the description, you see the word ‘trash’, you struggle to process, and you doubt what you’ve read. Because really, who could ever believe that something beautiful like this:
Was made of this:
Easily the best piece, and in a way the most interactive. I found myself going from back to front several times just to see how one sheet of bubble wrap turned into mountains, how plastic bags and dead branches made trees and houses.
It was a great exhibition. My only regret was missing the ‘water’ installation, which happens EVERY HOUR ON THE HOUR! Don’t miss it when you go! But that just gives me another reason to go back, so I’m not complaining much.
The Al Riwaq Gallery is located right next to the Museum of Islamic Art, along the Doha Corniche.
The exhibition runs from: 14 March 2016 – 16 July 2016
Open daily except Tuesdays:
- Sunday to Wednesday 10.30am to 5.30pm
- Thursday and Saturday 12pm to 8pm
- Friday 2pm to 8pm
*Note: Make sure to wear something conservative so that you don’t face problems when entering the exhibit. They didn’t like my dress as much as I did!