Matisse’s ‘Still life with a Magnolia’ (1942), and its apparent Simplified drawing is nothing of the sorts. Rather, the painting, that took more than 12 years to complete, is not only a revolutionary way to represent life, it is also representative of Matisse’s underlying idea that colour possesses great healing powers and that art has the strength to communicate to the soul of man in mysterious ways. A man that believed in the greatness of beauty despite all the tragedies he lived through, he infamously, and very correctly, claimed: ” There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”…. just one of the many significances embodied in this little masterpiece.
No matter how many instruments man invents across the ages, to measure, define or organize time, the world will never be defined by time or by time’s keepers for that matter. Instead it will always be ruled by all of the things that exist outside of it… immeasurable substances, that do not follow earthly rules, or respond to “dimensional” dictums, but rather to the other invisible systems that co-exist with this material world. These things live, not in clocks and broken logics…. but somewhere both far and close… both in the heart and in the vastness of the universe….giving life to our cells, granting sparkles to the stars and always making sure that what survives of this life is not the bones or ashes, but the fluttering essence of all that is worth saving……. love.
One the things that I profoundly adored in this new museum was the underlying idea which sustains it. It aims to be an analysis of human universality, showcasing in each room, specific stages of human development in history. What is beautiful about it is that it doesn’t segregate by cultures or traditions, but instead has joined together the whole world in one single room: combining for example the portrayal of motherhood, side by side, in China, Egypt and Europe.
I will be posting specific analysis of each area and some of its main masterpieces, but for the meantime, here are some pictures of the overall exhibition spaces.
One of my favorite pieces at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, are of course, the stunning Rodin’s borrowed from the Rodin Museum in Paris. So characteristic of his work, these four sculptures, very small in size, apart from one of them, are profoundly beautiful and moving. Filled with the emotional depth that is only his, they seem to rather portray the human soul in its different stages of growth and expansion. So lovely….
Last weekend, I attended the opening of this fantastic new museum in Abu Dhabi, and there is so much to say about its stunning collection which I will be posting individually, but for now, let’s talk about this piece of architecture, by Jean Nouvel.
– the dome is made out of overlapping geometric lattices weighting over 7,500 tons – almost the same as the Eiffel Tower. It is supposed to appear light and almost floating, allowing for light to poor into the space – I must say, in my experience, the opposite occurs. It appears to be heavy, and almost no light at all manages to come into the open space.
– it is supposed to be an ode to nature, but these allusions are not felt at all. It rather feels like an alien ship has poised over the space.
– this does not mean that the space does not work, because it does. It is a gorgeous airy space, that allows for nice open air wandering. More than that is a little bit of a stretch.
– it is supposed to be made of 55 detached buildings, however, as one wanders in its interiors, it feels like just one large fragmented labyrinth.
– the permanent connections to the water is lovely, and allows for a soothing environment.
– apart from this, the building does not impress. It does not use the wonderful traditions of Arabic Architecture such as the love for geometry, mathematics, patterns and color, which in my opinion, is a profound shame. Arabian and Islamic tradition in architecture is breathtakingly beautiful, and this Building simply ignores and disregards all these connections and meanings, by creating yet another ode to post-modernist architecture. Come on Jean Nouvel……. you could have done better than this!
“Ocean waves, self willed waves, whether at rest or play, how full you are of wondrous life! Laughing in the sun, tossing back the sky’s reflection, heaving, throwing breakers at the world, in your watery wild wilderness, I find your quiet whisper sweet, caressing, love-filled; your restless murmuring I hear, your prescient moans. In the wild element, gloomy or glad, in your quiet, blue night, guard the secret you have taken. Not a treasured ring-gift, did I drop into your swell. Not a precious stone, did I bury in your deeps. No, at a fateful moment, lured by mysterious delight, all my soul, my living soul, I buried on your bed. ” Ivan Aizazovsky
The mysteries and depths of Aivazovsky’s soul…. as wide and as encompassing as the vast ocean he so much loved and admired.
The passage of the Jews, Ivan Aivazovsky.