A Steel Masterpiece by Arnaud Rivieren @ Alserkal Avenue

Arnaud Rivieren unveiled his ‘Natural Sublime’ exhibition at Custot Gallery earlier this year, showcasing his unique series of oversized fruit, vegetables, stones, and trees. One of his most monumental sculptures to date, The Ghaf, has been transplanted to a more visible location and laid down its roots at the center point of Alserkal Avenue.

Image credits: Arnaud

This impressive six-meter high, stainless-steel sculpture pays homage to the region’s national tree – The Ghaf, an evergreen in the harsh and dry, arid, climate which is drought-tolerant and able to withstand the harsh habitat of the desert. This symbolic masterpiece is part of a trio of works alongside Oak which was unveiled in 2020 and Maritime Pine in 2021, all three of which are notably emphatic. Arnaud’s deep respect for nature coincides with his mastery of both material and technique and the result is both emphatic and powerful.

Arnaud Rivieren, born in Brussels in 1966, is a Dubai-based contemporary sculptor who specializes in repurposing discarded industrial materials, which are scavenged from theindustrial areas and scrapyards of the UAE.

The artist has extensive experience of working with steel including in the oil and gas fields, and this is evident through his distinctive sculpting approach. With exceptional skills in varying techniques including bending, contorting, and twisting, his approach to the different properties of metals and alloys is what catapults Arnaud to the forefront of contemporary sculpture.

Transforming raw materials, such as tubular steel, i-beams, and barrels through rigorous steel crafting techniques, Rivieren produces large-scale outdoor sculptures. These structures contradict the solid and rigid function of the initial material and reveal a completely new, form, and purpose for what was once deemed disposable and forgotten.

This environmentally conscious approach has come to define the heart of Arnaud Rivieren’s work. Often looking back towards nature for his inspiration, expanding it and subliming it through the lens of a metal-bending master, he creates a dialogue between the organic natural elements and industrial recycled materials.