New Louvre exhibition to showcase Japanese artistic influence

Japanese Connections to exhibit 50 paintings, prints and folding screens from September 6 to November 24

Abu Dhabi: The Louvre Abu Dhabi on Wednesday announced its latest exhibition — Japanese Connections.

Starting Thursday, it will feature works by 12 French and Japanese artists.

Curated by Isabelle Cahn, general curator of Paintings at Musee d’Orsay, the exhibition will run from September 6 to November 24, showcasing 50 different paintings, prints and folding screens that explore the artistic and cultural dialogue between Japan and France.

“It is with pleasure that we kick off our new season at Louvre Abu Dhabi with ‘Japanese Connections: The Birth of Modern Décor’. Following our inaugural exhibition From One Louvre to Another, which detailed the birth of the Musée du Louvre, and Globes: Visions of the World, which explored the history of the spherical representation of the world, we now explore the links between Japan and France that inspired a new artistic movement within European decorative arts,” said Manuel Rabate, director of Louvre Abu Dhabi.

“With our international exhibitions, we aim to bring the world to our visitors, highlighting connections between cultures and societies that have shaped who we are today,” he added.

Cahn also called the exhibition a celebration of East-West cultural dialogue.

“For the first time, an exhibition traces the fundamental contribution of Japanese aesthetics to the development of decorative modern painting in France at the end of the 19th century. This dialogue between East and West celebrates creativity and cross-cultural inspiration.

“We are very pleased to gather this exceptional selection of works and to uncover a crucial moment when Western paintings emancipated from a realistic representation of the world,” she added.

Using period photographs and films, projections will also offer visitors a walk through Paris at the turn of the 20th century, a city then considered the world’s capital of arts.

The weekend of the exhibition opening will also feature an Emirati-Japanese Kharsha Drums group, giving traditional waikaido percussion performances played by Japanese and Emirati musicians.

Other programming includes film screenings curated by Hind Mezaina, a talk titled ‘1000 years of Manga’ exploring how Japanese traditions inspired the phenomenon, and a project with renowned street artist Myneandyours in collaboration with several UAE schools. It culminates with a ‘Big in Japan’ weekend including a spoken word event by Emirati poet Afra Atiq, and a performance by the Turntable Symphonograph Orchestra from Japan.

In a tasty twist, the museum’s cafe will feature a special Japanese inspired menu throughout the exhibition.

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