My parents visited with us over the festive period and I was keen to show them everything that our desert domain has to offer. On Christmas Day, Hubs was working and so we opted to spend our day in a less traditional way. We started with breakfast at Leopolds of London then moved on to a bit of swimming, sunbathing and pampering with a massage for Mum and I. We ended the day with a delicious dinner at our favourite Moroccan restaurant but not before we’d managed to cram in some culture too with a visit to Manarat al Saadiyat for the “Seeing Through Light” exhibition.
The exhibition includes selections from the Guggenheim, Abu Dhabi collection and looks at “light as a primary aesthetic principle in art”, it’s broken into five categories that examine light in Activated, Celestial, Perceptual, Reflected and Transcendent forms. The collection brings together the work of artists from several nationalities and spans a timeframe from the 1960’s to the present. Exhibits range from paintings and sculptures through to videos and spaces that you can enter allowing you to fully immerse yourself in a sensory and perceptual experience.
One of the first pieces you come across is by the Artist Doug Wheeler often cited as one of the leaders of the Los Angeles, Light and Space art movement. I didn’t take any photographs of it, it was a very strange experience, like being in a room full of the densest fog, you can’t see the end to anything, there are no corners to the room. I didn’t feel claustrophobic though, I felt surprisingly safe, like I was encased in a cocoon of sorts.
“The Hanging Light Ball, 1972” by Otto Piene, is part of the Reflected light section, as the ball turns it creates patterns that move up the walls, rather reminded me of large crabs, spiders or some kind of alien forms in a movie, gave me the creeps just thinking about them!
From another perspective
The Activated light section includes this work by contemporary artist Angela Bulloch (one of the Young British Artists along with the likes of Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin), entitled “6 Chains: Permutation B, 2002” it consists of six boxes, programmed with a coded system that activates fifty sequences of the four featured colours plus white.
By far my favourite installation is “Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled with the Brilliance of Life, 2011” by the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and in my opinion it’s worth visiting the exhibition for this alone.
A room filled with Kaleidoscopic lights and water, I think this is the closest feeling I will ever have of being amongst the stars. It’s like looking up at the sky in say The Maldives or The Seychelles and being amazed by how many stars you can see, except your actually in the stars and they’re changing colour. I found this to be quite an amazing experience and I could have spent hours in that room, just mesmerised by it and using my imagination to float through space.
The exhibition is free to enter and runs until March 2015, so there’s still time to head on over to Saadiyat Island this weekend if you want to catch this unique experience.
I’m looking forward to seeing whatever is coming next to the cultural district.
Do you have a piece of artwork you will never forget experiencing?
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Websites for you
Exhibition Booklet “Seeing Through Light” Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection