18.02.2021

Towards a Universal Language

An Adornment of Stars, 2014 Saudi artist Nasser Al Salem

Louvre Abu Dhabi Dubai

Abstraction and Calligraphy − Towards a Universal Language 

17 February – 12 June 2021

In collaboration with Centre Pompidou 

What’s the driving force behind Cy Twombly’s emotive expressions? Behind Kandinsky’s vibrant canvases? 

Abstract artists set out to form a universal language that could be understood by all. That idea was influenced by the calligraphy of Asia and North Africa.  

There was something about eastern script that fuelled the imagination of western artists. The Arab world was full of signs and symbols they could draw from. Both raw and precise, expressive and restrained, calligraphy unlocked a new way for them to express the inexpressible: emotion, empathy, ideas.

For visitors of all ages, this exhibition is a rare chance to appreciate masterworks by Henri Matisse, Paul Klee, Joan Miró, Lee Ufan, André Masson, Dia Azzawi and Jackson Pollock, alongside contemporary works by Sanki King, Mona Hatoum, and a monumental installation by eL Seed.  

In this first exhibition of 2021, we explore masterworks from the Centre Pompidou, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and others – many shown here for the very first time – and discover how East and West come together on the same canvas.

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