Seeing Through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s new exhibition introduces the future museum’s curatorial vision through a theme-based collection presentation, featuring artworks by 18 international artists from the 1960s to today and exploring the theme of light. The gallery’s curatorial vision endeavours to foster a transcultural perspective on the history of art, encompassing both modernism and the emergence of contemporary cultural thought in an increasingly interconnected world.

Comprised of sixteen artworks Seeing through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection examines light as a primary aesthetic principle in art, and the theme’s flexibility allows for inclusion across cultures and time periods. This inaugural exhibition unfolds through five sections that examine light in various iterations: Activated, Celestial, Perceptual, Reflected, and Transcendent.

While the exhibition begins chronologically in the 1960s, it blends time and mixes established and mid-career artists, as well as assembling a diversity of media within each section. Modern and contemporary artworks range from immersive environments that visitors can move around in through to video, painting and sculpture, with light experienced in all of its spatial, sensory and perceptual phenomena.

Exhibiting artists include Angela Bulloch, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Robert Irwin, Y.Z. Kami, Bharti Kher, Rachid Koraïchi, Yayoi Kusama, Otto Piene, and Douglas Wheeler. This exhibition illuminates the creative vision of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and offers the first glimpse of what is to come. It is a fitting first exhibition for the Guggenheim, itself designed by Frank Gehry as a monument to light, its glass-covered cones appearing as beacons on the cultural landscape of Abu Dhabi.

Seeing Through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection, until 19 January 2015, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Cultural District, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. For more information visit

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1. Otto Piene, Hängende Lichtkuge (Hanging Light Ball), 1972.