Birth of a Museum constitutes the first large-scale presentation of the Louvre Abu Dhabi collection, in unison with the expression of Jean Nouvel’s architectural vision. The exhibition unveils a selection of one hundred and thirty works, most of them never before seen. Its concept is based on the major artistic and aesthetic themes which reveal the principles at the core of the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s identity: universalism and the artistic testimonies of major civilisations brought together and in dialogue, from the most ancient times to the contemporary period, while emphasising the multidisciplinary nature of the fields of artistic creation. Mirroring the future museum, Birth of a Museum proposes a new and unique reflection on the history of art. As an introduction, the theme of the figure and its representation is presented in an archaeological context, while a concurrent dialogue is created with a modern work. The suggested echo between the Bactrian Princess, a Cypriot idol-statuette, and Yves Klein’s figural expression is a symbolic demonstration of the ongoing visual renewal of the key issues of human representation.

Born of an agreement between the Abu Dhabi and French governments, Louvre Abu Dhabi will display art, manuscripts as well as significant historical, cultural and sociological objects. The iconic building, designed by Jean Nouvel, is conceived as a complex of pavilions, plazas, alleyways and canals, evoking a city floating on the sea. Hovering over the complex will be a form inspired by traditional Arabic architecture: a vast, shallow dome – some 180 metres in diameter – perforated with interlaced patterns so that a magical, diffused light filters through.

When and where: April 22-July 20, 2013, at Manarat al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island