GCC takes the idea of the art collective to a global level; more than just artists working together, the nine female and male members – Fatima Al Qadiri, Abdullah Al-Mutairi, Amal Khalaf, Aziz Al Qatami, Barrak Alzaid, Khalid al Gharaballi, Monira Al Qadiri, Nanu Al-Hamad and Sophia Al-Maria – are exploring the very meaning of the 'collective' and its possibilities by mimicking pan-regional political models (its name is based on the Arab government body, the Gulf Cooperation Council). Here, Al Qadiri introduces GCC with an exclusive transmission on the theme of the six GCC countries.
Upon entering Achievements in Swiss Summit, London's first GCC exhibition at Project Native Informant, it becomes immediately apparent that the luxurious setting is apt - the Rolls Royce hovering by the entrance on the opening night is not a mode of transportation for an ostentatious Frieze-goer but a prop that plays an integral part of the show's concept. Achievements in Swiss Summit acts as a formal celebration of the artistic union of the GCC collective, an auspicious event that reinforces its first meeting in Morschach, Switzerland and announces through speakers in controlled, mellow tones its intentions as a High Level Strategic Dialogue.
Frieze visitors were invited to take a ride around the block in the Rolls Royce, inside which a sound installation was played on a continuous loop. It is the official charter of the Gulf Cooperation Council, altered to fit the aims of its new-art reimagining. The names of each of the nine collaborators replace the states of the original GCC (the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait), while the word 'Islam' is replaced with 'Art' and 'League of Arab States' with 'Federation of Gulf Artists'. Promoting unity amongst artists in different fields, the confirmation of their bond echoes that of the original GCC charter, with the aim of achieving 'sublime objectives.'
GCC has always revered its strong sibling relations and makes sure to celebrate our limitless achievements collectively. Our main aim is to help others help us help them
In the gallery itself, the audience is presented with documentation of the first summit of GCC as a collective, glimpses of ritual and gestures of certainty. Elements of the close-knit society's activities are revealed, the rest remaining scintillatingly secret, concealed behind the rhetoric of business conferences and political speeches; as more is ostensibly disclosed, the more opaque its meaning becomes. Here, a representative of GCC explains more about the intentions and purposes of the Gulf's newest collective.
Dazed Digital: How and when did the GCC collective start?
GCC: GCC was born in the VIP lounge of Art Dubai, March 2013.
DD: What ideas are you exploring in the exhibition, Achievements in Swiss Summit?
GCC: The therapeutic processes and healing properties of alpine political problem solving.
DD: Has Achievements in Swiss Summit been shown elsewhere or was it been made specifically for Frieze?
GCC: Achievements in Swiss Summit is part documentation of our inaugural annual summit in Morschach, Switzerland, and part self-congratulant. The debut of the show coincides with Frieze. The timing is God's will.
DD: The exhibition relates to ideas of 'friendship' and 'cooperation' - inherent to a collective. Did you get together with the aim of conceptually exploring collectivism, or were you just working together anyway?
GCC: GCC has always revered its strong sibling relations and makes sure to celebrate our limitless achievements collectively. Our main aim is to help others help us help them.
DD: Are all the group members visual artists?
GCC: We pride ourselves as jacks of all trades but feel a humanistic obligation towards our less fortunate neighbors to outsource our labour.
DD: What kind of experience does the GCC hope for its guests to have inside the Rolls Royce?
GCC: We wanted guests to have an immersive experience of the GCC Charter while inside the cocoon of an official motorcade vehicle. It seemed like an ideal incubator for our spokesperson's soothing voice.