For artist Jim Denevan, a paramount element of his creative practice centers on building experiences within landscapes through art and temporary events. Known for his large-scale land works that shape expanses of sand into precise geometries (previously), he allows time, weather, and changing tides to gradually reform the compositions back into natural terrain. Opening today in the capital of the U.A.E., Denevan’s expansive “Self Similar” is part of Manar Abu Dhabi, a new initiative celebrating public art and illuminating the city’s landmarks and vistas with light.
Bordered by the Arabian Sea on Abu Dhabi’s Fahid Island, visitors can reach the installation via a bridge that aligns with its geometry. “As I draw and shape these forms, an invitation is made; it emerges. An ‘entering into’ takes place,” he says of the creative process, mirroring the experience of wandering through the composition. The piece’s 19 rings and 448 pyramids span nearly a square kilometer, and at the work’s highest point, it reaches 27 meters tall.
Denevan, who is also a chef, founded Outstanding in the Field in 1999, inviting people to meet and dine at temporary tables in stunning locations before packing up and leaving the location just as it was. “In the tables he sets and the land artworks he creates, there is an element of organic impermanence at play,” says a statement on his site. The size and scale of his installations range from small compositions on beaches to city-size interventions that stretch miles, each in response to a specific site.
Manar Abu Dhabi continues through January 30, 2024, and you can explore more on Denevan’s website. You might also enjoy this music video from earlier this year, directed by Owen Brown of CNTRL5 and featuring the band ARIZONA, which centers around a 90,000-square-foot installation by Denevan in a dry riverbed in the American Southwest.
Manar Abu Dhabi continues through January 30, 2024, and you can explore more on the artist’s website.
Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. You’ll connect with a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, read articles and newsletters ad-free, sustain our interview series, get discounts and early access to our limited-edition print releases, and much more. Join now!