Louvre Abu Dhabi Commissions Site-Specific Pieces by Jenny Holzer and Giuseppe Penone

The works will be displayed in an outdoor area reminiscent of an Islamic courtyard.

Engraved stone Cuneiform wall with excerpts from Creation Myth tablet from the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin. Rendering Factum Arte. Image courtesy Louvre Abu Dhabi, ©2015 Jenny Holzer.
Engraved stone Cuneiform wall with excerpts from Creation Myth tablet from the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin. Rendering Factum Arte. Image courtesy Louvre Abu Dhabi, ©2015 Jenny Holzer.

As the 2017 opening date for the Louvre Abu Dhabi nears, the museum has announced two new site-specific commissions by artists Jenny Holzer and Giuseppe Penone.

Keeping with the institution’s goal of bridging western and eastern art in an encyclopedic museum, the works by the American and Italian artists will be displayed in light-filled outdoor areas simulating an Islamic courtyard.

Model of Guiseppe Penone, Leaves of Light, (2016) at the Louvre Abu Dhabi by Ateliers Jean Nouvel,. Image courtesy the Louvre Abu Dhabi, ©Giuseppe Penone.

Model of Guiseppe Penone, Leaves of Light, (2016) at the Louvre Abu Dhabi by Ateliers Jean Nouvel,. Image courtesy the Louvre Abu Dhabi, ©Giuseppe Penone.

Mohamad Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, has emphasized the role that art can play in bringing together different cultures.

“In line with Louvre Abu Dhabi’s ambition to reflect the universal nature of art making, we have commissioned contemporary works by the internationally renowned artists Giuseppe Penone and Jenny Holzer. The artists’ works are inspired by the museum’s iconic architecture and diverse stories and play an important role in connecting the cultures and civilizations of our past with the relevant ongoing conversations and artistic practices today,” he said in a statement.

Penone’s commission is called Germination, an installation examining the use of natural materials in art. A bronze tree called Leaves of Light will interact via mirrors with the museum’s architecture.

Design for the Louvre Abu Dhabi by architect Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Image courtesy Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Design for the Louvre Abu Dhabi by architect Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Image courtesy Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Holzer’s contribution is three stone walls engraved with historic texts: Ibn Khaldun’s “Muqaddimah,” from Istanbul; an Arcadian and Sumerian “Creation Myth” tablet currently housed in Berlin; and the 1588 “Essais” by Michel de Montaigne from the Bordeaux Municipal Library.

“My goal is to pay homage to Louvre Abu Dhabi’s architecture and to foreground the museum’s core concept—the cultural dialogue between civilizations—while focusing on how this dialogue was and is realized with words,” said Holzer.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi has a projected opening date of 2017, but the exact date is not yet clear.


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