Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority Celebrates the Inauguration of Seeing Through Light: Selections for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection
Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s first exhibition will showcase
renowned international and regional artists, together with a series of
talks, events, and workshops held throughout the exhibition period
(ABU DHABI, UAE, November 3, 2014)—Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture
Authority will present the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s pre-opening
exhibition, Seeing Through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection
at the Manarat Al Saadiyat on Saadiyat Island. The exhibition, which
will run from November 5, 2014 until January 19, 2015, will feature
artworks by 19 international artists from the 1960s to today, all of
which explore the theme of ‘light.’
Rita Aoun-Abdo, Executive Director, Culture Sector, TCA Abu Dhabi
commented: “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
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 whose work is part of a major retrospective, ZERO: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s-60s, currently on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City) 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.
“We wanted to represent the theme of light in all of its aspects;
whether natural or artificial, directed or reflected, interior or
exterior, transcendent or celestial. The space of the exhibition has
been turned into an environment that visitors can move around in and
through the different mediums so that one could be truly immersed in and
can experience light in all of its spatial, sensory, and perceptual
phenomena,” commented Susan Davidson, Senior Curator, Collections and
Exhibitions, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
In line with the exhibited artwork, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s
pre-opening exhibition will also host a series of talks, events, and
workshops designed to engage a range of age groups.
As part of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Talking Art Series, a panel discussion with artists Angela Bulloch, Shirazeh Houshiary, and Rachid Koraïchi was held on November 3, 2014 to discuss their creative process of utilizing light as an aesthetic.
Later in the year, Artscape: An Evening of Light and Live Electronic Music will also be held at the Manarat Al Saadiyat on Thursday, December 11, 2014. Inspired by artworks exhibited in Seeing Through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection,
the festival will include interactive light-themed activities,
workshops, and live electronic music that explores the cross-currents of
light, art, music, and technology. 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. Unique to Artscape, audiences are invited to stay late and enjoy an extended evening of electronic music.
Extending the activities to beyond Manarat Al Saadiyat, the city of
Abu Dhabi will turn into a canvas with an enlightening public art
performance by Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer entitled Pulse Corniche
(2014-2015), 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.
Maisa Al Qassimi, Programmes Manager for Guggenheim Abu Dhabi said, “Taking Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s concepts out of the Seeing Through Light
exhibition space and to the capital gives the exhibition a new
dimension and wider audiences to connect with. Our public programmes are
growing in diversity and it’s important that our first preview is
supported by such multi-faceted engagement.”
Pulse Corniche is the culmination of a series of interactive
public artworks that debuted at the 2007 Venice Bienniale with Pulse
Room. People are free to participate by holding a sensor placed in the
centre of the plaza that converts the electrical activity of their heart
into a unique lighting sequence. The intensity and direction of the
lights makes visual the different biometric rhythms of each participant.
In addition, starting from November 13, 2014 through January 17,
2015, the exhibition will hold a variety of enlightening, engaging, and
educational 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 Seeing Through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection.
Seeing through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection
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, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.
For more information about the workshops, please visit www.saadiyatculturaldistrict.ae.
All programmes in line with the exhibition are free. Due to limited spaces, prior booking and registration is required.
To make a booking, please call +971 2 657 5800 or email email@example.com.
About Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority
Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority conserves and promotes the
heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi emirate and leverages them in the
development of a world-class, sustainable destination of distinction,
which enriches the lives of visitors and residents alike. The authority
manages the emirate’s tourism sector and markets the destination
internationally through a wide range of activities aimed at attracting
visitors and investment. Its policies, plans and programmes relate to
the preservation of heritage and culture, including protecting
archaeological and historical sites and to developing museums, including
the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum, and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.
TCA Abu Dhabi supports intellectual and artistic activities and cultural
events to nurture a rich cultural environment and honour the emirate’s
heritage. A key authority role is to create synergy in the destination’s
development through close co-ordination with its wide-ranging
About the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
in 1937, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is dedicated to promoting
the understanding and appreciation of art, primarily of the modern and
contemporary periods, through exhibitions, education programs, research
initiatives, and publications. The Guggenheim network that began in the
1970s when the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, was joined by the
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, has since expanded to include the
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (opened 1997), and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi
(currently in development). Looking to the future, the Guggenheim
Foundation continues to forge international collaborations that take
contemporary art, architecture, and design beyond the walls of the
museum, including with the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, and
with The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative. More
information about the Foundation can be found at guggenheim.org.
About Guggenheim Abu Dhabi
Guggenheim Abu Dhabi
will be a preeminent platform for contemporary art and culture that will
present the most important artistic achievements of our time. From its
location in the Middle East—a central axis between Europe, Asia, and
North Africa—the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will contribute to a more
inclusive and expansive view of art history that emphasizes the
convergence of local, regional, and international sources of creative
inspiration rather than geography or nationality. At the same time, the
Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will acknowledge and celebrate the specific
identity derived from the cultural traditions of Abu Dhabi and the
United Arab Emirates, as well as other countries comprising the Middle
The museum’s collection will encompass art from the 1960s to the
present day produced around the world and in all media. Through its
collection, exhibitions, and educational programs, the Guggenheim Abu
Dhabi will bring attention to under-researched and lesser-known
histories. In parallel, it will reevaluate those chapters that have
defined the art historical canon to date.
The museum will be a catalyst for scholarship in a variety of fields,
chief among them the history of art in the Middle East in the 20th and
21st centuries. A dynamic program of changing exhibitions will explore
common themes and affinities among the work of artists across time and
place. An ambitious program of commissions created for the collection
and the exceptional spaces of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will reinforce
the museum’s commitment to working with artists and supporting
contemporary artistic production.