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In the midst of change

Louvre Abu Dhabi announces four major exhibitions for its forthcoming season that examine the role of art in an ever-changing society

As temperatures in the region continue their upward spiral, the change in pace becomes a lot more palpable across the emirates. But for Louvre Abu Dhabi, the summer months will be a busy period as the museum gears up to usher in a new season dedicated to all things creative.

As director Manuel Rabaté puts it, the upcoming season of art exhibitions and live performances at the Saadiyat Island museum will be the “boldest and most extensive programme to date”. Come September, the theme of Changing Societies will take centre stage at Louvre Abu Dhabi with the launch of four new exhibitions that explore how the arts have acted as a witness to key moments of change in society throughout history. Inviting you to embark on a journey from the Islamic Middle Ages through to the 20th century, the showcase is accompanied by an enriching cultural programme with live performances, immersive installations, music, poetry recitals and family events.

“Our new and exciting season is designed to pioneer different ways to engage the museum’s diverse audiences, offering them innovative experiences and a deeper understanding of the universal themes presented in our permanent galleries,” says Rabaté. The museum will also update its permanent showcase for the season as part of its annual rotation. From September, the galleries will proudly display new highlights such as the People’s subject to the King of Egypt on the base of a statue of Nectanebo II from the fourth century BCE, the Head of a chevalier in armour from 13th-century France as well as an Emesus vase dating back to Syria at the end of the sixth century and the beginning of the seventh century, all on loan from Musée du Louvre in Paris.

The museum will also display some of its latest acquisitions made during previous exhibitions held during the year, such as the iconic work by Rembrandt van Rijn, Head of a young man, with clasped hands: Study of the figure of Christ, which made its debut at the Rembrandt, Vermeer & the Dutch Golden Age: Masterpieces from The Leiden Collection and the Musée du Louvre exhibition. As the museum prepares for its upcoming showcase, the summer months are also a great time to discover what else is in store at this cultural hub. Explore the movement of art through the ages as you journey along Louvre Abu Dhabi’s permanent galleries boasting 600 masterpieces from the third millennium BCE to the present time.

Equally worthy of your attention is the structure these are housed within. Standing beneath the filigreed dome, you’ll find yourself transported to another realm, with rays of light piercing through its layers, casting dapples across the interiors. The little ones joining you will also find plenty to keep entertained at A Costume Adventure, a new interactive space that will open on July 9. Here, young art enthusiasts will enjoy the chance to learn more about the costumes of characters found in some of the museum’s artworks and dive into historical wardrobes. 

10,000 YEARS OF LUXURY: October 30, 2019 – February 18, 2020

WHAT TO EXPECT While the UAE is synonymous with all things luxury, this is the first time visitors in the region will be able to explore the history of the concept of luxury and its ever-changing interpretations through the centuries. More than 350 objects from the fields of fashion, jewellery, art, furniture and design, spanning diverse world cultures, will be on display, offering visitors a rare chance to glimpse, revel in and evaluate true luxury. Discover everything from offerings to the divine, to gold furniture and even iconic pieces from fashion houses such as Christian Dior, Chanel, Cartier, Balenciaga and Hermès. This stunning showcase will also shed light on the prominent role of women in defining true luxury.

MORE TO DISCOVER Experiences created by performers and artists under the theme ‘luxuries are what money can’t buy’  Musical tributes to artists Umm Kulthum and Fairuz  An olfactory art installation titled USO – The Perfumed Cloud, offering an immersive journey into a perfumed cloud combining ethereal architecture, the senses and climate technology 

FURUSIYYA: THE ART OF CHIVALRY BETWEEN EAST AND WEST: February 19 – May 30, 2020

WHAT TO EXPECT While tales of brave knights have been narrated throughout history, this is a rare chance for visitors to discover stories of war, loss, comradery and love through a series of 130 artworks, most of which will be on display for the first time in the region. The exhibition explores an extraordinary link between furusiyya (the historical Arabic term for knightly martial exercise) in the Islamic East and chivalry in the Christian West and how combat practices led to a specific social class and culture.

MORE TO DISCOVER Live performances with traditional string instruments by artists including Le Trio Joubran exploring music from the Middle Ages to contemporary compositions  Immersive family-focused events allowing visitors to experience lifestyle practices in the Middle Ages  Conferences and activations themed around the Middle Ages 

CHARLIE CHAPLIN: WHEN ART MET CINEMA: April 15 – July 11, 2020

WHAT TO EXPECT Charlie Chaplin’s movies are some of the most iconic works in the film industry revered even today. This exhibition explores the connection between his works and other similar creations of avant-garde artists of the time. Prominent works by Marc Chagall, Fernand Léger and František Kupka feature in this line-up. Also on showcase are works by artists at the centre of modern art movements including constructivism, surrealism and dadaism. With a showcase of around 100 paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, archives and film scenes, the exhibition reveals how these artists constantly addressed the rapidly changing world of the first half of the 20th century.

MORE TO DISCOVER  An opening programme that combines art, comedy, circus, dance, classical music and philosophy  Short, poetic mime art performances by Yoann Bourgeois as a tribute to Charlie Chaplin 

RENDEZVOUS IN PARIS: PICASSO, CHAGALL, MODIGLIANI & CO. (1900-1939): September 18 – December 7, 2019

WHAT TO EXPECT Take a step back in time to the 1920s and discover the charms of Paris. This vibrant city played host to many an artist from all across Europe, who flocked to this bohemian hub in search of a place where they could express their creative streak. Inspired by the French city, this group of artists came together to produce some of the most innovative creations of the 20th century. Discover a line-up of more than 80 creations, all of which will be on display for the very first time in the Middle East including masterpieces by Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Constantin Brancusi, Tamara de Lempicka and Brassaï, among others.

MORE TO DISCOVER ‘Living machines’ roaming the galleries of the museum from September 18 to 21  Live performances combining acrobatics, circus arts and contemporary dance from September 18 to 21  Family weekend on September 27 and 28 with special workshops  Film screenings  Electro night on November 21 with live sets from local and international DJs.

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