'Rhodiola' commission by Alserkal Arts Foundation opens in Alserkal Avenue

18 March 2019

The commission by Athens-based collective 3 137 runs from 18 March - 30 April 2019


The programme-based commission Rhodiola opened in Alserkal Avenue today. Commissioned by Alserkal Arts Foundation, Rhodiola is curated by Athens-based collective 3 137—made up of artists Chrysanthi Koumianaki, former Alserkal Residency artist-in-residence Kosmas Nikolaou, and Paky Vlassopoulou. It opened on 18 March 2019 during Art Week at Alserkal Avenue at Warehouse 90 (formerly Nadi Al Quoz).

Alserkal Arts Foundation, which was announced on 18 March 2019 by Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, supports socially engaged, multi-disciplinary practices and facilitates cross-cultural exchange through its four core initiatives: public art commissions, residencies, research grants and educational programmes. The Foundation offers cultural practitioners – either based in Dubai, or whose practice critically investigates themes pertinent to the region's artistic community – opportunities for research, scholarship, and artistic production. All of Alserkal Arts Foundation’s activities are supported by Alserkal, an Emirati family business spearheaded by Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal.

Rhodiola acts as an informal group portrait of participants, visitors, and hosts, and explores the idea of maintenance in everyday life. Borrowing its title from the rhodiola rosea flower, a perennial golden root which grows in wild Arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America, the commission is inspired by rhodiola’s healing properties and its ability to help combat stress, anxiety and fatigue. Rhodiola challenges ordinary perceptions of domestic life and public affairs, and offers a place for moments of active pause.

“Rhodiola is a time-based and people-oriented project, with the objective of creating a temporary community, a group of people who are engaged in new encounters and shared experiences,” says 3 137. “The collaborative aspect of the project reflects the ethos of 3 137, intending to generate a value-system where diverse voices act independently, but also interact within the shared responsibility of creating a tool for a common imaginary space.”

3 137, an artist run space founded in 2012, endeavours to create meeting points for exchange, discussion, and research. Its practices, which focus on artistic production, collaboration, and hospitality, are engaged with the environment in which they are presented—as they will be throughout the duration of Rhodiola. “A programme-based commission, it demarcates spatial geography and challenges our perceptions around the commodification of public space through numerous immersive interventions within the built environment of Alserkal Avenue,” says Vilma Jurkute, Alserkal Director. “The collective will closely engage with the many publics of Dubai through its six-week programme, shaping new patterns of social production here.”

For six weeks, Rhodiola will unfold through talks and interviews, exhibitions,

performances, screenings, and community activities. It will run sporadically, at variable tempos, acting as an amplifier at times and as an ambiance at others. Looking at hybrid forms of communication, Rhodiola takes its inspiration from radio frequencies, and will come to life across five Waves.

More information on each Wave can be found at rhodiola.ae

Wave 1: AC/Scaffold

Staging your well-being: domesticity / infrastructure / support / urbanist / futurology /ruin / artificial / setting / programme / communication / transport / handle / zero carbon / haunt / process / decoration

Wave 2: Cookies

An invisible statistical map: comfort / biscuit / language / geography / immaterial / tube / high performance / queue / contract / start up / franchise / labour / convention / customer / demands

Wave 3: Dentist

For the making of the perfect Avatar: profit / cleaning / care / stereotypes / normal vs casual / duties / internship / coaching / rescue / post human / cabinet /mechanics / hucksterism / spectacular

Wave 4: Snooze

Be ready to be cured and listen to your personalised divination: oracle / cosmism / benefit / concentration / treatment / beautician / meditation / transit / school / degrowth / divination / preemptive / superheroes

Wave 5: Sunscreen

A casual service: tourism / dog walker / slow food / happiness / psychoanalysis / upbringing / trainer / online banking / service / state / customer / pen friend / love affair / handle / transmission

(Image credit: Rhodiola by 3 137 in Warehouse 90, Alserkal Avenue. Photography by Nikolas Leventakis & Manolis Foinikianakis)



Alserkal is a socially responsible and forward-thinking cultural enterprise dedicated to developing sustainable models for homegrown initiatives with a commitment to nurturing alternative ideas and impactful research with regional relevance. Founded in 2007 by Emirati businessman and patron Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, Alserkal is renowned for its ground-breaking artistic productions, experimental approach and for the creation of culturally meaningful spaces that inspire and shape communities. Alserkal has three primary areas of activity: cultivating a creative economy in Dubai and building a collaborative network of civic-cultural institutions through its renowned cultural district, Alserkal Avenue; providing advisory services to public and private sector entities; and, supporting public artist commissions, residencies, research grants and educational programmes through its non-profit, Alserkal Arts Foundation.

Alserkal has transformed the cultural landscape of Dubai and the UAE through the creation of a thriving, region-specific community of over 70 contemporary art galleries, visual and performing arts organisations, designers and entrepreneur-led businesses at Alserkal Avenue, providing an essential platform for the development of creative industries in the region.

Alserkal utilises its collective expertise in arts initiatives and cultural production, heritage creation, community building and engagement, as well as urbanism and planning for creative industries, to guide public and private sector entities in developing sustainable and responsive business models.

About Alserkal Arts Foundation

The Alserkal Arts Foundation is a non-profit that extends Alserkal’s mission to support cultural production. The Foundation offers opportunities for research and artistic production to cultural practitioners and researchers with strong regional or contemporary relevance who challenge conventional disciplinary boundaries. Through its initiatives, which include support for artistic projects, research grants, alternative learning, and artist residencies at purpose-built studios located in the heart of Alserkal Avenue, the Foundation seeks to incubate creative thinking that contributes to the region’s cultural sphere, leading to new forms of knowledge. Alserkal Arts Foundation is supported by Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, Ahmad Bin Eisa Alserkal and the Alserkal family.

About Alserkal Avenue

Alserkal Avenue is a vibrant cultural district in the Al Quoz industrial area of Dubai, and is home to a community of over 70 contemporary art galleries, visual and performing arts organisations, designers, home-grown and entrepreneur-led businesses, and community spaces across 500,000sqft and 90 warehouses. Alserkal Avenue provides an essential platform for the development of the creative industries in the United Arab Emirates. As one of the region’s foremost destinations for contemporary art, and home to Dubai’s risk-takers, makers and wide-ranging creative communities, Alserkal Avenue provides cultural experiences for local, regional and international audiences through its extensive year-round programming. Alserkal Avenue is home to Concrete, a multi-disciplinary exhibitions space conceptualised and programmed by Alserkal, as well as the artist residency program of Alserkal’s non-profit, Alserkal Arts Foundation. Alserkal Avenue was established in 2007 by Alserkal following the visionary thinking of its founder, Emirati businessman and cultural patron Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, who sought to cultivate a vibrant creative community and support cultural production in Dubai.

About 3 137

3 137 is an artist run space based in Athens. It was founded in 2012 (by Chrysanthi Koumianaki, Kosmas Nikolaou, and Paky Vlassopoulou). The space is an independent initiative run by artists, having as aim to create a meeting point for exchange, discussion and research. Its projects place emphasis on artistic production, collaboration and hospitality, and explore hybrid forms of being together. 3 137 also runs an ad hoc publishing house, called Polar Bear, that commissions new artists’ books.

Since 2016, 3 137 is developing a research, together with the art historian and curator Klea Charitou, regarding the greek art scene of the 70s, presented through public talks, lectures, screenings, educational workshops and a publication which is going to be released next year.

In the meantime, the space has frozen its indoors program for a while and has established an immaterial institution named Gabriela, inspired by the first intern who worked at 3 137. Gabriela sets up a discussion on labor issues in the art world while looking for different, parallel and possible communities. She is triggered by institutional critique together with the need to make a living and be sustainable.