Thu, Nov 6, 2014

Art & Auctions
Abu Dhabi sheds light on Guggenheim collection

Art lovers are being treated to a special preview of some of the 200 works that will be displayed at the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi when it opens in 2017.

The pre-opening exhibition, ‘Seeing Through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection’, is being held at the Manarat Al Saadiyat venue on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The exhibition features artworks by 19 international artists from the 1960s to today, all of which explore the theme of light.

It was opened by Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan and Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) Chairman Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan.

The artwork displayed is presented through five sections that examine the exhibition’s theme of ‘light’ in various iterations: Perceptual, Reflected, Transcendent, Activated, and Celestial. 

• Perceptual Light examines the work of five artists who were early practitioners of the light art movement: Larry Bell, Dan Flavin, Robert Irwin, Keith Sonnier, and Douglas Wheeler.

• Reflected Light assembles Heinz Mack and Otto Piene, who were active in the 1960s as founders of the Zero group and artists of a younger generation Ghada Amer and Rachid Koraïchi.

• Transcendent Light is comprised of the artists Monir Farmanfarmian, Samia Halaby, Shirazeh Houshiary, and Y Z Kami, all of whom are painters who use light thematically to explore the contemplative.

• The Activated Light section examines artists, Angela Bulloch, Hassan Khan, and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer whose artwork depends on advanced technologies to activate light.

• Celestial Light brings together three artists—Bharti Kher, Yayoi Kusama, and Song Dong, who use a range of media to produce artworks that emulate the infinite.
Rita Aoun-Abdo, Executive Director, Culture Sector, TCA Abu Dhabi, says: “The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is not yet a physical place, but it is already providing a dynamic platform for interrogating the history of art and contemplating both the present and future of contemporary art. This exhibition introduces visitors to the type of special exhibitions that will be exhibited at the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, with the intent to foster a transcultural perspective on the history of art and to encompass various legacies of modernism and the emergence of contemporary art in the region. Through the artwork exhibited and various supporting community and education programmes, TCA Abu Dhabi aims to foster this perspective and encourage the emergence of home-grown talents.”

The pre-opening exhibition is also hosting a series of talks, events and workshops designed to engage a range of age groups.

Next month, a festival titled Artscape: An Evening of Light and Live Electronic Music will also be held at the Manarat Al Saadiyat on December 11.

It will include interactive light-themed activities, workshops and live electronic music that explores the cross-currents of light, art, music and technology. I

In addition, it will be introducing a special performance by one of the featured artists, Hassan Khan. This special event provides audiences a chance to explore this experience-rich exhibition and engage directly with artists, designers and performers from around the world.

Extending the activities to beyond Manarat Al Saadiyat, the city of Abu Dhabi will turn into a canvas with an public art performance by Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer entitled Pulse Corniche, from January  8  to 17, 2015.

A display of an interactive canopy of powerful light beams projected into to the sky by some of the world's strongest robotic searchlights whose brightness and orientation is controlled by the heart-rate of visitors to the Abu Dhabi's Corniche. 

In addition, there will be hands-on workshops and short courses designed for children (aged 6 to 8), juniors (aged 9 to 12), teens (aged 13 to 16) and adults (aged 17 and over) that explore the themes and concepts of the exhibition.

The exhibition is curated by Susan Davidson, Senior Curator, Collections and Exhibitions, Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, with Sasha Kalter-Wasserman, Assistant Curator, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Project, Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation, and Maisa Al Qassimi, Programmes Manager, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, TCA Abu Dhabi.

It will run until January 19, 2015.

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