Community Information: Artful seats in Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi

Chairs for Abu DhabiImage Credit: Manarat Al Saadiyat

Manarat Al Saadiyat in Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi is treasure chest of the UAE’s most precious gems. It is currently offering a glimpse into the past with an exhibition titled A History of the World in 100 Objects. As a community information, this is being hosted over a period of 100 days until August 1.

Numerous exhibitions with the most intriguing of themes can be found at Manarat AI Saadiyat. With the sheer number of artworks on display, it Is not uncommon for some to suffer from museum feet, a condition wherein the feet become numb or sore due to prolonged art gazing. Fortunately for visitors, the museum offers an entire art installation bunt of chairs - a great place to rest and be awed.

Tadashi Kawamata, a Japanese artist whose work is frequently featured in major cities such as Tokyo and Paris, has decided to include Abu Dhabi in his many stopovers. For this exhibition. he has created a dome consisting of 1,000 chairs. Around 20 feet in height, the towering structure, titled Chairs for Abu Dhabi, might give visitors museum neck. The chairs are latched together using plastic cable ties. While this might initially look precarious, the installation has proved durable since its unveiling at the Abu Dhabi Art Festival in 2012.

"I did not use a particular type of chair. I even threw in a sofa," says Kawamata. "The piece is a mixture of wooden, metallic and colourful mediums. The mixture of chairs reflects the mixture of citizens in Abu Dhabi, being the international city that it is."

A place to relax
The artist welcomes everyone to see his installation. Museum visitors who want a short break can visit the structure to sit and take a breather and perhaps ponder the complexity of its design.

Chairs for Abu Dhabi has also been used as a venue for poetry recitations, storytelling sessions and social gatherings, which were what the creator originally had in mind. One might even consider the installation a variation on the traditional Arabian majlis.

The aesthetics are boundless with this simple yet complex piece. While the structure might seem like a haphazard expression of the noise inside an artist's mind, a closer look reveals something different. Chairs for Abu Dhabi is an independent art installation that supports itself without external assistance. For something so colossal to be delicately held together is truly commendable.

Apart from such an overwhelming sight, the venue is designed as a sitting room, so visitors will feel as if they're part of a pronounced metaphor.

The room lends itself as a space where one can sit and ponder the mysteries of life, while being gently kissed by the streams of sunlight trickling through the gaps between the walls. And that is when you realise the intricate patterns of the structure.

The room abounds with quirky seats that look like they've been exported from different eras. A Victorian couch, aged sofas, wooden stools and leather armchairs can be found here. The place itself is reminiscent of a rotunda.

Other community information
Chairs for Abu Dhabi is spectacularly located in the foyer of Manarat AI Saadiyat. The exhibition is on display indefinitely in the museum.

Other exhibitions at the gallery include Fat Car by Erwin Wurm and the winning entries of the Emirates Photography Competition. Manarat Al Saadiyat literally translates to "place of enlightenment" and that is exactly what it does to those who come to admire its culturally refined exhibitions.

Source: Nichole Nikoliovich, Special to Property Weekly

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