Louvre Abu Dhabi, Dialogue du vent et de la mer

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is finally opening after 11 years of delays and painful changes and is the first of the Abu Dhabi's "wanna be" cultural district's architectural marvel to see its launch, but nobody knows when the rest of the grand project will materialize as initially intended. Around it, still desert’s sand, the Louvre stands alone on a battleground where only one soldier is left on its own feet. Jean Nouvel seams emotional during his speech, presenting himself as a contextual architect but eventually the context is half-gone here. However, the building is there, and might work well even without anything around, actually this whole emptiness tents to emphasize its monumental scale that is far much evident from the distance, with its nature of microcosm, microhabitat, microcity seems perfectly standing the deep solitude that it is condemned to suffer long time to come.

While every other architecture planned in the proximity was supposed to reflect its inventor’s signature, this building seems to emerge under the genius loci with a symbolism and a relation with the territory that could not have happened elsewhere. It is a place of cultural dialogue emphasizing similarities among population rather than differences, since we all share the same sky. The magnificent dome represents a starlit night sky hinting at a spirituality which sense is sometimes lost in modern contradictions. Its shelter creates a perfect climate as his Excellency Mohamed al Mubarak - chair of the Department of Culture and Tourism and the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) - said, reminiscent of the date’s palm oasis and their shaded pathways. Even the permanent galleries are carefully thought following the same philosophy, a crew of curators constructed along those 11 years a narrative that really blends in with the building, wanting to address a sense of dialogue among the artifacts on display, as a sort of second thought above history.

Therefore, to date, this is the only place on hearth where you can find on the same pedestal a dancing Shiva bronze from India along with a Bodhisattva Japanese figurine and an Aztec stone goddess. An inter-religious liaison that challenges the global instability and sectarian incommunicability we are apparently living in today. Still the bright and glamorous Jacques-Louis David’s Napoleon Crossing the Alps dominating one of the twelve rooms seems to reaffirm the French primate on arts and culture. Even though Marc Ladriet de Lacharrière, chairman of Agence France-Museum and UNESCO Goodwill ambassador talks in his speech about the Louvre Abu Dhabi as an open book with 12 chapters with a long prologue. In this book you will rather find questions that makes the audience think about our human condition rather than answers and pre-confectioned explanation on how the world is run.

 Ivan Parati

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