A video and works on paper installation by artist Susan Hefuna, whose work weaves together performance, video, social practice, and drawing, is on view as part of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi exhibition The Creative Act: Performance, Process, Presence. For this show, Hefuna collaborated with the curators and students from New York University Abu Dhabi’s Attitude Dance Society to develop a public program that merged her interests in dance, the invisible choreography of daily life, and the physical act of drawing.
The program, “Abu Dhabi Crossroads: Susan Hefuna in Collaboration with Attitude Dance Society” took place in Gallery 1 of Manarat Al Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi. It began with a short lecture by Valerie Hillings, Curator and Manager, Curatorial Affairs, Abu Dhabi Project, and a conversation with Hefuna and Attitude Dance Society Outreach Coordinator Daniel Rey-Rosas led by Sara Bin Safwan, Researcher, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, followed by a dance performance in the galleries where Hefuna’s work is on view.
Navigating the exhibition space as though it were a city street, the dancers occasionally stopped to sit on a bench and react to their physical encounters with one another and sometimes with members of the audience. Some dancers made chalk drawings on the gallery floor, echoing the artist herself in Hefuna Chalk Drawing (2013). At the conclusion of the performance, they led the audience out of the exhibition while reciting aloud its three subthemes: performance, process, and presence.
Hefuna spoke with us about the roots and evolution of her practice, and how she has approached her work in Abu Dhabi.