press release

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s pre-opening exhibition, Seeing Through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection which runs until the 19th January, 2015, features artworks by 19 international artists from the 1960s to today, all of which explore the theme of ‘light’.

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, andRafael 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. 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 will be held on the 3rd November, 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 11th of December, 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 the 8th to the 17th of January 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.

Pulse Corniche is the culmination of a series of interactive public art-works 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 the 13th November, 2014 up to the 17th January, 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. Download the full programme here

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.