Inside the museum, we can roam around the permanent collections, to know more about Arab countries history; in less than 30 years, this museum – opened in 1987 – has become an irresistible place to understand Arab language and culture thanks to informative and topical exhibitions.
On the menu:
This “Eye open onto the Arab World” is the eye of 240 artists echoing the 240 mashrabiyas of the AWI façade.
The installation relies on the exquisite corpse process invented in 1925 by surrealists: it’s about the juxtaposition of works created by different artists without any of them knows what the others have done. To create this continuity, each artist is assigned a precise location and gets the edges of the two works that will arrive before it and top it. This is how, leaving things to chance, the collation ends on a unique creation. Choosing the support was free, leading to a large diversity of art expressions: photograph, drawing, sculpture, painting, graffiti… To understand the creation steps of works better, video clips filmed by artists document their work.
This collective work is a tribute to the richness and the dynamism of the Arab culture. It highlights the work of artists who contributed to the institution project since its creation while opening to new expressions.
Built on a non-chronological but themed route, the AWI museum takes interest in the history of men from the Arab World, long before the advent of Islam in the 7th century A.D.
In February 2017, the Arab World Institute was exhibiting a selection of works from the solidarity collection for the future Palestinian Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. That first exhibition has since given rise to more than fifty donations from European and Arab artists, including Claude Viallat, Hamed, Abdalla, Robert Combas, Hervé Di Rosa, Robert Scemla and Rachid Koraïchi. One year after the unveiling of this “gamble” undertaken despite the vagaries of the situation in Palestine and the surrounding countries, the Association for modern and Conteporary Art in Palestine and its partner, the Institut du Monde Arabe, present the progress of this project.
The carte blanche principle: making a creator dialog with the museum collections, allowing him to express his experience, his relationship with and perception of the Arab world. Lassaâd Metoui has his place both with his practice of reinterpreted calligraphy and the bound he has with words. His “Pinceau Ivre” gives shape and color to the language and embodies the sounds and rhythms of orality.
On August 6, 2015, at the end of titanic works, Egypt was inaugurating a new Suez Canal: 37 km doubling the “historical” canal itself extended on 35 km. A wonderful occasion for the Arab World Institute to devote an exhibition to this one of a kind canal, built from 1859 to 1869 taken up by Ferdinand de Lesseps. More than a simple visit, it’s an immersive experience, along a tour evolving around four movements. First, you’re welcomed to the canal inauguration with great pomp, on November 17, 1869. Have a seat, in one of the three high official galleries, read a newspaper or… watch the news on a big screen! In presence of leading celebrities from the Arab and European worlds, including the Empress Eugenie and Emir Abdelkader, relive the event, prefiguration of World’s Fairs and reflect of the wish to modernize Egypt in the 19th century.
Then, let’s go back to the original times of the canal, some 18000 years BCE. Because the idea was born very early to allow boats to go from the Nile to the Red Sea, and so, de facto, connecting the latter to the Mediterranean. Many sovereigns will give their names to the project – Sesostris (likely Senusret III) said to be the first to have ordered its construction, then Necho II, Darius the Great, Ptolemy II Philadelphus, Trajan… This proto-canal will be regularly pulled out of the mud, until the beginning of the Arab conquest.
To find more about Museums Night, have a look at our other articles:
On 19 May 2018
From 7 p.m. to 11:55 p.m.
Institut du Monde Arabe
1, rue des Fossés-Saint-Bernard
75005 Paris 5
ligne 7, ligne 10