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Louvre Abu Dhabi: Challenging Modernity

20th century pieces show the proliferation of movements that overtook the art world

  • A general view of the gallery of 'Challenging Modernity' at Louvre Abu Dhabi.Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
  • A general view of the gallery of 'Challenging Modernity' at Louvre Abu Dhabi.Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Louvre Abu Dhabi visitor’s introduction to modern art begins with a series of sculptures with figures that are almost difficult to identify. A closer look reveals that one is a woman, another a rooster and the third a snake, and this immediately prepares one for the reinvention of traditional craft forms.

In the gallery, Spanish artist Pablo Picasso’s ‘Bust of a Woman’ needs no introduction, neither does his 1928 ‘Portrait of a Woman’. Just across this pair of colourful piece is another frame marked by its vivid colours: French artist Henri Matisse’s ‘Still Life with a Magnolia’, which Matisse once said was his favourite personal creation.

Further down, two pieces created through unusual processes pique the visitor’s interest. Frenchman Yves Klein’s ‘Untitled Anthropometry’ depicts the imprint of two painted bodies on canvas, while modern Japanese artist Kazuo Shiraga’s created ‘Chirisei Kyubiki’ by suspending himself from a rope and moving his feet.

The Submissive Reader, Rene Magritte, France, Le Perreux-sur-Marne, 1928, Oil on canvas.

Belgian artist Rene Magritte’s ‘The Submissive Reader’ and Spanish painter Joan Miro’s 1927 evocation of a circus offer a glimpse of Surrealism, while kinetic art is represented by ‘Orange press’, a 1960 sculpture by Swiss artist Jean Tinguely made of disparate everyday objects like a bucket and a citrus juicer.

A red-tinged 1968 piece from American pop art master Andy Warhol is also featured at a large scale.

A taste of the work of abstract art pioneers, Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky and Frenchman Piet Mondrian, also proposes a study of contrasts. Kandinsky’s ‘Composition IX’ is a 1936 piece with bright, sumptuous colours while Mondrian’s ‘Composition with Blue, Red, Yellow and Black’ is stark in its simplicity. Interestingly, this oil-on-canvas painting was the first piece of the museum’s permanent collection.

On the way to the final gallery is a mobile, a common modern item that was invented by American sculptor Alexander Calder. His delicate 1934 piece is suspended from the ceiling, and appears to be a testament to the changeability of art movements of the 20th century.

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

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