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Online Talk: Abstraction and Calligraphy – Towards a Universal Language

Duration: 43 minutes

From symbols to letters, words to brushstrokes and marks, our latest exhibition celebrates the search for a universal mode of expression that can be understood by all.

This year, we’ve made the curator’s talk available online. Listen as Didier Ottinger (Deputy Director, Cultural Programming, Musée national d’art moderne - Centre de création industrielle) takes you on a journey through time and space to discover the birth of the pictograph. He will reveal how the calligraphy of Asia and North Africa travelled across borders, influencing artists in the West.

Didier Ottinger will shine a light on the shared ideas that brought together “an ancient Egyptian stele and the ‘pictograms’ of a New York street artist—the shared dream of a universal language.”

He will also touch on the connection between words and spirituality and the “dialogue between images and letters, illustrated by the mutual fascination between calligraphy and image makers, and vice-versa.”

Didier Ottinger is an eminent curator and art director with a distinguished career. He has curated several important exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou and abroad, and held positions in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and the Musée National Canadien, and was co-curator of the Venice Biennale centenary. Didier Ottinger also taught contemporary art at the Ecole du Louvre for several years and is the author of several books.

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Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi

Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi

Online calligraphy demonstration and talk

By Emirati artist Mohamed Mandi

As part of our new exhibition Abstraction and Calligraphy - Towards a Universal Language, Emirati artist Mohamed Mandi has given an inspiring talk all about calligraphy at Louvre Abu Dhabi. We have made it available for you online to enjoy.
In the talk, Mohamed traced calligraphy’s long and fascinating history and touched on its meditative and spiritual significance. He also demonstrated his calligraphic skills and shared insights from his celebrated career.

Fascinated by calligraphy as a child, Mohamed studied in Cairo, and trained under renowned Turkish calligrapher Hassan Chalabi. Mandi’s distinctive angular designs are found on banknotes throughout the UAE and Bahrain, and on passports in the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait. He also contributed beautiful interior calligraphy to the prestigious Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Mohammed teaches Arabic calligraphy workshops at Bait Al Khatt at the Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi, and is recognised internationally for his unique style that combines letters and words to form three-dimensional images.

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