Louvre Abu Dhabi's next exhibition traces world's best artworks created on paper

More than 100 pieces have been curated from 16 renowned institutions, including Musee du Louvre

'Under the Wave off Kanagawa' by Katsushika Hokusai will be part of the Stories of Paper exhibition at Louvre Abu Dhabi. Photo: Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi
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Louvre Abu Dhabi has announced details of its next exhibition, which is set to celebrate some of the world’s best artworks created on paper.

Stories of Paper, which has been organised in partnership with Musee du Louvre and France Museums, will showcase works collected from 16 French and international art institutions and libraries, as well as a number of pieces from private collections.

The exhibition, which will contain more than 100 arts and objects, including books, manuscripts, drawings, a reproduction of a house and 13 contemporary artworks and installations, aims to highlight the range of artistic expression paper has been used for.

Set to run from April 20 to July 24, highlights of the exhibition will include Pablo Picasso’s Portrait of a Woman (1928), two Japanese prints by artist Katsushika Hokusai, and a 13th-century double page illustration from De Materia Medica, all from Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection.

The exhibition will also feature Carmontelle’s Figures Walking in a Parkland (1795) from Louvre’s collection in Paris, a Munajat Ali, a Quran written in fingernail calligraphy from the National Library of France, and a number of artworks by prominent contemporary Emirati and Middle Eastern artists, such as Dana Awartani’s He is Who Created the Heavens and Earth in Six Days.

'Purple Quran' from the collection of the National Library of France. Photo: National Library of France

Other works in the exhibition have been curated from The Centre Pompidou, Sharjah Art Foundation and Zayed National Museum.

Stories of Paper is curated by Musee du Louvre's Xavier Salmon, general curator and director of the department of drawings and prints, and Victor Hundsbuckler, curator at the department of drawings and prints, with the support of Souraya Noujaim, director of scientific, curatorial and collections management at Louvre Abu Dhabi.

“It’s entirely appropriate that paper should be the subject of Louvre Abu Dhabi’s second exhibition of 2022 — exploring a single medium and the specific techniques that encompass it,” said Manuel Rabate, director of Louvre Abu Dhabi.

“The history of paper, an invention that transcended geography in its journey from East to West while transforming cultures and societies in the process, exemplifies the stories of cultural interaction and intellectual exchange that the museum is committed to examining.”

The exhibition will take visitors on an immersive journey of the history of paper spread across 12 sections, all of which highlight the key qualities and varied use of paper across centuries. The themed sections include Plant-based origin, A Humble Material, Colour, Movement, Relationship with Light, An Untruthful Material, Memory, Fragility and Resilience, Space, Possibility of a Collection, A Medium for Reproducing Artworks, and A Malleable Medium.

'Youth in a Landscape' is one of the works featured in Louvre Abu Dhabi's Stories of Paper exhibition. Photo: Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi

“If there is one material that is a common good for the human race, it is most certainly paper,” said Salmon.

“Paper was invented in China around 200 BC, and rapidly made its way to Korea and Japan — then eventually along the Silk Road. From there, the Islamic world absorbed this material, and stretched its use across the Middle East and along the coasts of the Mediterranean.

“Years later, in the 11th century, the first paper mills were documented in Al Andalus. Shortly after, in the 13th and 14th centuries, the advancement of mass paper production took place in Italy and France and the demand for paper grew expeditiously worldwide. Stories of Paper seeks to explain why paper, a common yet precious good, was quickly adopted and sought after by cultures from every part of the world.”

Louvre Abu Dhabi will launch cultural and educational programming to accompany Stories of Paper, details of which will be announced at a later date.

Entrance to the Stories of Paper exhibition is free with the museum’s general admission tickets. More information at louvreabudhabi.ae

Updated: March 17, 2022, 12:29 PM