About Cinem'Art at Louvre Abu Dhabi

CinemArt at Louvre Abu Dhabi_curated by Hind Mezaina.jpg

This summer, I curated a series of film screenings at Louvre Abu Dhabi. It was the first time for the museum to host a series of film screenings, and it was also an opportunity to gauge if there'd be interest to attend these screenings in what is normally considered to be a quiet time of the year because most people are away on holiday. Luckily, there was interest, most of the screenings were full.  

When I got the opportunity to curate a selection of films, I proposed the idea of screenings films inspired by the art pieces in the museum, and to create a dialogue between cinema and art. 

The museum liked the idea and titled the series Cinem'Art. Between 23 June and 28 July 2018 I programmed 8 screenings showcasing a diverse selection of films including classic, experimental, documentary and short films. Details about the film screenings and trailers can be found in my earlier post about screenings.

The screenings were free to attend, so it was interesting to see a mix of attendees, people who had registered in advance, and museum visitors who turned up on the day, and I was also happy to see returning faces each week. 

The exercise of finding films connecting to the art works was quite an enjoyable task for me, and I also got an opportunity to screen films I had seen at recent film festivals. I'm working on curating the next series and hopefully more after that. 

In this post, I'd like to share with you a detailed and side by side breakdown of the films that were screened and the artworks that I linked them to the screenings. If you live in the UAE and not had a chance to visit the museum, I encourage you to go.  

List of films and artworks:

Shiraz (Franz Osten, 1928) inspired by  The Mughal Empire paintings,on display in Gallery 7 in Louvre Abu Dhabi. The works depict a certain lifestyle and elegance set in 17th century India, and the same can be seen in the film, a rare silent made in India in the 1920s.   

Pay Joe and the Lion (Benjamin Wigley,2016) inspired by Reliquary casket made from Fatimid rock crystal plaques, dated 1200-1210, on display in Gallery 6 in Louvre Abu Dhabi. Two very different takes on coffins and burial culture. 

(Johann Lurf, 2017) inspired by Astrolabe by Muhammad Ibn Ahmed Al Battuti (Maghreb, 1726-1777), on display in the Cosmopgraphy Gallery in Louvre Abu Dhabi. Johann Lurf said in a recent interview "I really see the starry night sky as the earliest form of cinema", and imagining the early days of navigation, I invited viewers to an evening of stargazing on the big screen. 

Around China With a Movie Camera (various filmmakers, 1900-1948) inspired by A Chinese Scene (Jean Baptiste Pillement, 1765-1767) which looks at daily life in China through Western eyes in the 18th century. The film too was a look at China through (mostly) Western eyes, consisting of an edited montage of short travelogues made by amateur and professional filmmakers. 
The artwork can be seen in Gallery 9 at Louvre Abu Dhabi.  

Horizontes (Eileen Hofer, 2015) inspired by Edgar Degas: Dancer Fourth Position on the Left Leg, Third Study which represents movement, strength and control in ballet dancing. This artwork is on display in Gallery 10 in Louvre Abu Dhabi. The film too focuses on the importance of ballet, shown through the eyes of 3 different generations of dancers in Cuba. 

UAE Stories, a program of 6 short films by various directors, Inspired by the home city of Louvre Abu Dhabi. The films touched upon themes of personal memories, struggles, achievements and the meaning of home.