Executed jointly by the Emirati-French Cultural Programme, an initiative established by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi and France’s Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Culture and the Institut Français, in dialogue with the newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi, Co-Lab, curated by Alia Zaal Lootah, unites and celebrates artistry from both cultures. The artworks presented were created over the course of one year whereby UAE-based artists worked closely with French artisans from a variety of disciplines to realise the works.
Talin Hazbar x Manufacture de Sèvres cast. From Louvre Abu Dhabi
The four artworks take inspiration from the theme of ‘Time’, which was expressed differently by each artist through use of various techniques and materials. The Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres opened its doors to Talin Hazbar to work on ceramics—an experience that resulted in rectangular-like columns imbued with Hazbar’s enchanting forms.
Khalid Shafar. © Mobilier national, Thibaut Chapotot. From Louvre Abu Dhabi
The manufacturing company of Beauvais collaborated with Emirati designer Khalid Shafar to create a work revolving around the art of weaving. Long strips of variously coloured fabric hang from the ceiling of the exhibition space framing it with a playful aesthetic. Meanwhile, Emirati artist Zeinab Alhashemi worked with luxury glassware firm Saint-Just to create a large bold geometric installation in which light shines through the coloured glass.
Zeinab Alhashemi. La Verrerie de Saint-Just factory. From Louvre Abu Dhabi
Lastly, Mumbai-born Dubai-based Vikram Divecha, known for his conceptual work that questions specific environments challenging socio-economic structures, joined forces with Paris-based MTX Broderie Architecturale to create an installation made with the firm’s innovative embroidery.
Vikram Divecha. MTX Poster. From Louvre Abu Dhabi
The aim of Co-Lab, according to a statement, is “to strengthen cultural cooperation” between France and the UAE. “The concept of Co-Lab reflects this fundamental mandate, bringing together the traditional and the innovative, the past and the present to inspire a new generation of artists. In 2018, both countries will celebrate with a year dedicated to Emirati-French cultural dialogue,” said HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.
Moreover, the exhibition comes at a time when artists are once again discovering and incorporating the rich history of craftsmanship and traditional artistry into their work. The exhibition, says Louvre Director Manuel Rabaté, “is a platform for creative exchange and discovery.” It follows the museum’s mission to showcase artworks that span human existence, from prehistoric times to the present day. “Actively nurturing contemporary art practice is an important element of our mandate as a museum,” adds Rabaté. From the ancient to the contemporary, the international to the regional, this exhibition solidifies Louvre Abu Dhabi’s vision to maintain a discourse with all.
Co-Lab: Contemporary Art and Savoir-faire is on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi until 25 March 2018. Louvreabudhabi.ae