Arab Contemporary Art: Artist Collective GCC

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GCC, Exhibition View, Royal Mirage, 2014, Chartered Cruise,  Rolls Royce Silver Phantom, sound, ephemeral/performance, 2013, and Royal Mirage III, 2014

The artist collective GCC has been making arab contemporary art that is both inspired by and addresses the contemporary culture of the Arab Gulf region. Consisting of a “delegation” of nine artists, the GCC makes reference to the English abbreviation of the Gulf Cooperation Council, an economic and political consortium of Arabian Gulf nations. Founded in the VIP lounge of Art Dubai in 2013, the GCC makes use of ministerial language and celebratory rituals associated with the Gulf. The collective consists of Nanu Al-Hamad, Khalid al Gharaballi, Abdullah Al-Mutairi, Fatima Al Qadiri, Monira Al Qadiri, Aziz Al Qatami, Barrak Alzaid, Amal Khalaf.

For their inaugural series of exhibitions, the collective focused on the notion of achievement, focusing on the rituals that mark accomplishment as well as the physical objects that embody them. They have created a series of Congratulants based on trophies exchanged in the Gulf as well as videos examining ribbon-cutting ceremonies and installations that reference the spectacular cities that have been recently constructed in the region. The GCC’s visual language is not one of irony or hyperbole, but rather a way of framing culture that reveals the ambiguity and nuance of how people live today.By utilizing new mediums like HD and 4K video, in addition to appropriating traditional forms like news radio and miniature model building, the GCC span a range of artistic practices. They are rooted in the legacy of identity politics while engaging with new ways of relating images and objects. With members trained in architecture, design, music, and of course art, the collective embraces an interdisciplinary way of working that produces arab contemporary art that are both coherent and concise in their concept and execution. They make use of visuals that are largely known to the late-capitalist consumer—advertising and brand management that is employed by global business and nations alike.

Upon entering Achievements in Swiss Summit, London’s first GCC exhibition at Project Native Informant, it becomes immediately apparent that the luxurious setting is apt – the Rolls Royce hovering by the entrance on the opening night is not a mode of transportation for an ostentatious Frieze-goer but a prop that plays an integral part of the show’s concept. Achievements in Swiss Summit acts as a formal celebration of the artistic union of the GCC collective, an auspicious event that reinforces its first meeting in Morschach, Switzerland and announces through speakers in controlled, mellow tones its intentions as a High Level Strategic Dialogue.