Cul­ture

The build­ing it­self won’t open un­til 2017, but a new ex­hi­bi­tion of­fers a taste of the as­ton­ish­ing art­works be­ing col­lected by Guggen­heimAbuDhabi. Colin Drury­wen­ta­long...

Friday - - Contents -

An ex­hi­bi­tion of­fers a taste of what’s to come at Guggen­heim Abu Dhabi.

W hen you first walk into this room it is like be­ing trans­ported to the cen­tre of the uni­verse. Ev­ery­thing is dark. The walls are pan­elled with mir­rors. Wa­ter cov­ers much of the floor. And hang­ing from the ceil­ing, like stars shin­ing across a galaxy, are hun­dreds of mul­ti­coloured LED lights shim­mer­ing through acrylic balls. Shards of neon slice you from ev­ery di­rec­tion. They glow and glitter a thou­sand shades. It is as­ton­ish­ingly beau­ti­ful. The

Fri­day pho­tog­ra­pher sums the place up in one, breathed word: “wow.”

Wel­come to the first-ever ex­hi­bi­tion of The Guggen­heim mu­seum in Abu Dhabi.

Although the land­mark build­ing it­self won’t open in Saadiyat Is­land un­til 2017, this is the first glimpse of some of the 400 pieces cur­rently be­ing bought for its per­ma­nent col­lec­tion. The show, See­ing Through

Light, is be­ing held at the Ma­narat Al Saadiyat com­plex, also Saadiyat Is­land, un­til Jan­uary.

And this room is the largest of the 18 works – which also in­clude paint­ings, sculp­tures and sound­scapes – on show. It is an in­stal­la­tion by Ja­panese artist Yayoi Kusama.

The piece – ti­tled In­fin­i­tyMir­rored Room, Filled With The Bril­liance Of Life and which ap­pears on this page – is in­spired by his bat­tles with men­tal ill­ness, psy­chosis and schizophre­nia, as well as “the mil­lions of souls” in the world. The re­sponse to it so far is ex­actly what cu­ra­tors were hop­ing for: open-mouthed awe.

The mu­seum it­self, de­signed by Pritzker Prize-win­ning ar­chi­tect

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