Seeing Through Light: Selections from the Collection

Seeing Through Light: Selections from the Collection

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi

Otto Piene,Hängende Lichtkugel (Hanging Light Ball), 1972.Perforated and chromium-plated brass sphere, chromium-plated
brass spheres, light bulbs with electric motor223.5 x 68 cm. CourtesyGuggenheim Abu Dhabi.

November 7, 2014

Seeing Through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection
5 November 2014–19 January 2015

Manarat Al Saadiyat
Saadiyat Island
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority is proud to announce the opening of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s pre-opening exhibition, Seeing Through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection at the Manarat Al Saadiyat on Saadiyat Island. The exhibition, which will run until the 19 January, 2015, features artworks by 19 international artists from the 1960s to today, all of which explore the theme of “light.” 
The artwork displayed is presented through five sections that examine the exhibition’s theme of “light” in various iterations: Perceptual, Reflected, Transcendent, Activated, and Celestial.  

Perceptual Lightexamines the work of five artists who were early practitioners of the light art movement: Larry Bell, Dan Flavin, Robert Irwin, Keith Sonnier, and Douglas Wheeler.

Reflected Light assembles Heinz Mack and Otto Piene, who were active in the 1960s as founders of the Zero group (and whose work is part of a major retrospective, ZERO: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s–60s, currently on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City)  and artists of a younger generation Ghada Amer and Rachid Koraïchi.

Transcendent Light is comprised of the artists Monir Farmanfarmaian, Samia Halaby, Shirazeh Houshiary, and Y.Z. Kami, all of whom are painters who use light thematically to explore the contemplative.  

The Activated Light section examines artists, Angela Bulloch, Hassan Khan, and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer,  whose artwork depends on advanced technologies to activate light.

Celestial Light brings together three artists—Bharti Kher, Yayoi Kusama, and Song Dong, who use a range of media to produce artworks that emulate the infinite.

In line with the exhibition, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi  will host a series of talks, events and workshops designed to engage a range of age groups. 

As part of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Talking Art series, a panel discussion with artists Angela Bulloch, Shirazeh Houshiary, and Rachid Koraïchi was held on 3 November to discuss their creative process of utilizing light as an aesthetic. 

Later in the year, Artscape: An Evening of Light and Live Electronic Music will also be held at the Manarat Al Saadiyat on Thursday 11 December. Inspired by works in the exhibition, the festival will include interactive light-themed activities, workshops and live electronic music that explore the cross-currents of light, art, music and technology. In addition, it will be introducing a special performance by one of the featured artists, Hassan Khan. This special event provides audiences a chance to explore this experience-rich exhibition and engage directly with artists, designers and performers from around the world. 

Extending the activities to beyond Manarat Al Saadiyat, the city of Abu Dhabi will turn into a canvas with an enlightening public art performance by Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer titled Pulse Corniche (2014–15), 8–17 January 2015. A display of an interactive canopy of powerful light beams will be projected into to the sky by some of the world’s strongest robotic searchlights, whose brightness and orientation is controlled by the heart rate of visitors to the Abu Dhabi’s Corniche.  

In addition, between 13 November 2014–17 January 2015, the exhibition will hold a variety of enlightening, engaging, and educational hands-on workshops and short courses designed for all age groups that explore the themes and concepts of the exhibition.

Seeing Through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection is curated by Susan Davidson, Senior Curator, Collections and Exhibitions, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, with Sasha Kalter-Wasserman, Assistant Curator, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Project, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and Maisa Al Qassimi, Programmes Manager, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority. 

For more information about the workshops, please visit or contact:

Faisal Al Dhahri, Communications Manager, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, TCA Abu Dhabi:
faldhahri [​at​]

Tina Vaz, Director of Communications, Global Initiatives, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation:
tvaz [​at​]

RSVP for Seeing Through Light: Selections from the Collection
Guggenheim Abu Dhabi
November 7, 2014

Thank you for your RSVP.

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will be in touch.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for subscribing to e-flux

Feel free to subscribe to additional content from the e-flux platform.