Opening on March 2nd, 2022 from 6.30 - 9.00pm
Exhibition from March 2nd to April 30th, 2022
At Foundry Downtown, Dubai (UAE)
“I Saw Time Passing (I)” is a solo exhibition by Alia Zaal that showcases artworks produced during her ongoing residency in the former house of the master of Impressionism, Claude Monet, in Vétheuil (France). During the first phase of her residency, the artist continued her research on the scientific and neurological aspects of eyesight in relation to art; an interest that she began to explore and study to better understand the eyesight of her father Zaal whose drawings have fascinated her since her childhood. She combines different processes of image-recording such as photography, film, and drawing with ‘plein-air painting’, in the manner of Modernist painters from Cézanne to Monet. Responding to Impressionism, Alia Zaal studies the natural landscapes of Vétheuil, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai, both in their natural and artificial ecosystems. Thereby, the artist reimagines familiar sceneries of the sea, the desert, and the city lit by the sun, the moon, and street lights.
Vétheuil (close-up), 2022
“I Saw Time Passing (I)” displays a selection of a new body of work presenting landscapes in formats and viewpoints that are carefully selected based on the artist’s ongoing study of painting and its process and methodology. Alia Zaal’s interest in the action and process of painting drove her to introduce new ways of depicting her native landscape. As opposed to the common blue and beige landscapes of the sea and the desert, the artist sheds light on the greenery of her hometown; a color seldom associated to the landscape of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. To steer away from the stereotypical iconography of the Emirates, Alia Zaal selects the Ghaf tree and the Mangroves as the main subject of her paintings, focusing on the visual aesthetics of these trees that are very rich in their formal characteristics. Her subtle and unconventional framing reveals an overlooked beauty that she had the urge to celebrate.
Abu Dhabi's mangroves, by Alia Zaal
A residency journal, On painting from memory
"When I first arrived to Vetheuil, I was taken away by the serenity and tranquility of this little town. I arrived at night, the road was completely empty and dark but made me curious and more excited to see the town in daylight. I started the first day with some supply shopping, a walk on the Seine and some studio preparation. I then went to paint ‘en plein air’. It strikes me that it was not easy to select what you want to paint without adding in a way or another some elements from your extended periphery of vision. The eye can focus on a spot, but the mind must be very focused in order to depict exactly what you see. For this reason, I decided to select elements which I wanted to depict like a lot of artists who paint from real life as opposed to a reference photograph or a sketch..."
Foundry is a hybrid progressive art space founded as a response to the evolving cultural scene in the UAE . It is a new cycle of creative attitude consisting of a collaborative open work space, podcast studio, micro library, café and surrounding gallery spaces. Foundry’s innovative environment is a space for possibility and provides Dubai’s community, and the global art scene, the opportunity to thrive, connect, communicate and exhibit.
The space offers a comprehensive program of exhibitions, commissions, workshops, talks and film screenings, and brings a broad range of contemporary art and a cultural programme to the communities of Dubai, the UAE and the wider region.
Former residence of the painter Claude Monet and his family, the Oscar-Claude House, located in Vétheuil in the French Vexin, 20 minutes from Giverny, is a dynamic art center. Since 2021, the MOC is inhabited by contemporary artist Clément Denis and cultural producer Fouzy Mathey. Under the artistic direction of Clément Denis, it opens its doors to members of his private club, Le Monet Club, for exclusive events and to the general public during its exhibitions.
The MOC is dedicated to promoting the memory of Claude Monet, his contemporaries and the illustrious people of this area of the Seine through its library, its international residences and its creative retreats.