Short Circuits Vikram Divecha
Short Circuits by Vikram Divecha
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Short Circuits marks the debut institutional exhibition of Dubai-based artist Vikram Divecha at the Jameel Arts Centre. Curated by Dawn Ross (Head of Collections at Art Jameel) and Lucas Morin (Curator at Jameel Arts Centre), the show displays a diverse array of Divecha’s works (from sculptures to videos) created since 2013. On view are his creations from the Art Jameel Collection, along with various local and international loans. Additionally, visitors can have a look at his latest commissioned pieces. The exhibition will be open to the public until the 14th of June, 2024.

Divecha’s artistic practice involves collaboration with workers, contractors, and decision-makers, focusing on the often-invisible structures of urban planning, construction, demolition, and maintenance in Emirati cities. He realigns social and economic relations to spotlight these structures and thus prompts questions about agency, ethics, and value. Divecha’s artworks emerge from what he terms “found processes” where he immerses himself into an urban environment, observing how people interact with, adapt to, and bypass these systems.

Vikram Divecha, Short Circuits (installation view). Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai, 2024.

One of the artworks on display is, for instance, Portrait Sessions (2016) featuring many different portraits of the artist. Divecha approached people in the Emirates and offered them Dh150 to paint his portrait under two conditions: they could not be professional artists, and they could spend as much time on the painting as Dh150 would cover according to their professional wage. This project addresses the value system within the art world.

Another notable exhibit is Gardeners’ Sketchbooks (2017), a series of sketches by municipal gardeners in Sharjah. Divecha invited the workers to envision how they would design the hedges of the Al Majaz Waterfront, bringing the individuality of the gardeners to a landscape they maintain but have no creative control over.

Vikram Divecha, Short Circuits (installation view). Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai, 2024.

About the artist

Vikram Divecha (b. 1977, Beirut, Lebanon), who was brought up in Mumbai (India), divides his time between New York (USA) and Dubai. In 2019, he graduated from Columbia University (New York) with an MFA in Visual Art, which was followed by participating in the Independent Study program by the Whitney Museum in 2020. Currently, Divecha is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Art and Art History at the NYU Abu Dhabi.

Divecha’s conceptual practice encompasses painting, drawing, film, photography, and text. It also incorporates performances, public art, and sculptural installations. Among the themes he is interested in are authorship, time, value, transience, architecture, migration, and labour. The artist explores them through the aforementioned “found processes” that involve intervention within public and social systems. For example, in his work Train to Rouen (2017), Divecha delayed a train from Paris to Rouen for five minutes to question our relationship with time, light, and the railway industry. The sources of the artist’s inspiration include the idea of transformation; through his art pieces, he aims to document the changes a subject undergoes.

Facade No.4, 2014
Vikram Divecha, Facade No.4, 2014 (from the Variable Memories series). Extruded aluminium mullion, extruded rubber gasket, aluminium composite cladding, structural silicone sealant, C-print, plexiglass. 308.5 cm x 279.8 cm x 14 cm

Divecha’s creations have appeared in various regional and global exhibitions, including Towards Opacity (solo) (Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai, 2020); Art Dubai (2019); Who Are We Now? (Land Art Mongolia 5th Biennial, Mongolia, 2018); Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play (National Pavilion of UAE, 57th Venice Biennale, Italy, 2017); Binary States: India – UAE (Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India, 2016); and many others. In 2018, the artist undertook a residency at the Land Art Mongolia 5th Biennial. In 2014, he received the Middle East Emergent Artist Prize. The same year Divecha took part in a residency programme by T.A.P. (Temporary Art Platform) in Miziara (Lebanon).

To get more information about Short Circuits, please visit the official web page of the show.

In addition, you might be interested in attending Laal Collection Volume II at Total Arts.

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