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Louvre Abu Dhabi: A Global Stage

A selection of mesmerising works by contemporary artists

  • Family Tree, Zhang Huan, United States 2000, Polyptych, Chromogenic prints, Centre Pomidou, Musee National d’aImage Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
  • Multiple Realities, Duncan Wylie, South Africa, Johannesburg, and United Kingdom, London, 2016, oil on canvas.Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
  • Food for Thought, Al Muallaqat, Maha Malluh, Saudi Arabia, 2013, Eleven burned cooking pots.Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Walking into this last gallery at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, it is difficult to tear one’s eyes away from the towering sculpture of light in the middle of the room. Museum guides explain that this piece, made out of 10 chandeliers by Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, mirrors a utopian Soviet monument that was conceived but never built. The Fountain of Light makes a social statement, typical of many of the displays in the space entitled A Global Stage.

On one of the walls, another Chinese artist’s performance piece, Family Tree, offers a striking commentary of its own. Presented in nine photographs of its creator Zhang Huan, this work shows Huan’s resolute face and individuality being gradually covered with ink characters that tells stories of social and cultural influences.

Fountain of Light, Ai Weiwei, Germany, Berlin, and Beijing 2016, steel, glass crystals.

Across the room, Saudi sculptor Maha Malluh’s arrangement of 11 blackened aluminium cooking pots, wittily titled Food for Thought, brings a wry smile to most faces. There is also a mesmerising display of colours and urban scenes in London-based Zimbabwean artist Duncan Wylie’s painting, known as ‘Multiple Realities’, and a fascinating series of abstract paintings by famed American artist Cy Twombly is hung just outside the main galleries.

Under the domed roof of the museum are contemporary installations created for the museum by American neo-conceptual artist Jenny Holzer and Italian artist Giuseppe Penone. Holzer has engraved one side of a limestone wall with a portion of the text from Al Muqaddimah, one of the first books about the methodical study of history by medieval Islamic scholar Ibn Khaldun.

Naked sweet potato: Abdullah Al Saadi, UAE, 2000-2010, 4 Engraved rocks and video, 8 minutes 49 seconds.

The other side is engraved with an excerpt of the essays in Les Esais by 16th century French philosopher’s, and a third side shows cuneiform test, one of the earliest forms of writing. Penone, on the other hand, has created a giant bronze tree, and a series of ceramics representing humanity’s relationship with history and nature.

Timings and entry fee: 10am-8pm on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday; 10am-10pm on Thursday and Friday
Dh60: Adults
Dh30: 13-22 years
Dh30: Education professionals
Free entry: Children under 13. Members of Louvre Abu Dhabi’s Art Club loyalty programme, journalists, visitors with specials needs and their companions