Stéphane Custot’s got a sense of optimism about him that is envious, but also infectious. Construction delays and an apartment in flames on New Year’s Eve in Dubai’s The Address aside, the French-born dealer says there is a gap in the Dubai art market for Contemporary Western art and he’s here to fill it.
He oozes matter-of-factness and says buoyant things like: 'What’s happened until now is the past. What’s important especially here in Dubai is what’s happening now and what’s happening next,' and 'To be an art dealer is to be intuitive, it’s not to be reasonable.'
It was intuition, admits Custot, that first led him to Dubai just over two years ago. It was Alserkal Avenue, Dubai’s preeminent art district, that convinced him to set up an outpost in the Arab world after 25 years of operating from Europe.
Marc Quinn, Ian Davenport, Bernar Venet, Pablo Reinoso and Fabienne Verdier all took time out of their busy schedules to show their new Dubai dealer some support at his inaugural show, 'The World Meets Here'. The space is marvellous, all 700 sq m of it enveloped in nine-metre-high ceilings. This is what Dubai can do that London can’t: large-scale sculpture and a new conversation.
With the region in flux courtesy of a plunge in oil prices and a war with Yemen, finance is the name of today’s game, but Custot retorts: 'When you have the best thing, you always find a client.' What about Custot’s blue chip art and its hefty price tags? 'Of course there’s no market for Western art here because there’s no dialogue yet.'
’The World Meets Here’ runs until 7 May. For more information, visit the Custot gallery website
Alserkal, Avenue Unit No. l-84
Street 6A, AL U.A.E, Dubai
Receive our daily digest of inspiration, escapism and design stories from around the world direct to your inbox
Susanne Kaufmann on why her debut face oil is the only one you’ll need
Susanne Kaufmann speaks to Wallpaper* about her latest launch, a universal face oil that was years in the making
By Hannah Tindle Published
Kambara House’s contemporary Los Angeles interior is set within a Richard Neutra design
Kambara House, a gently revamped Richard Neutra house, is just one of the homes featured in new book ‘Los Angeles Interiors’ by Lannoo Publishers
By Ellie Stathaki Published
Frieze LA 2024 guide: the art, gossip and buzz
Our Frieze LA 2024 guide includes everything you need to know and see in and around the fair
By Renée Reizman Published
Unseen images by JK Bruce-Vanderpuije are a glimpse of life in 20th-century Ghana
Late Ghanaian photographer JK Bruce-Vanderpuije’s works are on show at Efie Gallery in Dubai, offering a vision of a nation across the decades
By Tianna Williams Published
How the Sharjah Biennial 15 is subverting art world legacies
Built on the vision of late curator Okwui Enwezor, the Sharjah Biennial 15: ‘Thinking Historically in the Present’ offers a critical reframing of postcolonial narratives through major new commissions
By Amah-Rose Abrams Published
‘The Art of Advocacy’: Aïda Muluneh’s vivid photographs are forces for change
At Efie Gallery, Dubai, Aïda Muluneh’s upcoming show, ‘The Art of Advocacy’ (12 January – 24 February 2023) surveys the photographer’s art as a tool for change, and debuts a new work, revealed exclusively here
By Harriet Lloyd-Smith Published
Takashi Murakami’s Dubai debut pops with colour, nostalgia and darker undertones
Nadine Khalil interviews Takashi Murakami ahead of his first exhibition in the UAE, at Perrotin’s ICD Brookfield pop-up space, as the gallery also launches its first permanent Middle Eastern outpost
By Nadine Khalil Published
Gallery Collectional launches during Dubai Design Week
The new gallery in Dubai’s Eden House opens with inaugural exhibition ‘The Shape of Things to Come’ and unveils new mirrors by Sabine Marcelis
By Hannah Silver Last updated
Sharjah Biennial 14 is raising the emirate’s cultural cachet
Themed ‘Leaving the Echo Chamber’, the 14th edition of the Sharjah Art Foundation-driven initiative presents over 60 major new commissions
By Tom Seymour Last updated
Unearthing the cultural stories and emotional forces behind Emirati design
By Suzanne Trocmé Last updated
Middle East revealed: W* explores Dubai's growing design scene
By Suzanne Trocmé Last updated