Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Our own Mona Lisa

A few weeks ago a new series of paintings turned up in the lobby of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. A familiar face to most, but in quite a different version... recognize someone?

These larger-than-life paintings are from 2008 by Chinese-French artist Yan Pei-Ming, and they belong to the Louvre Abu Dhabi. I find them rather striking here in the lobby, as the very first artwork you see before entering the galleries. They are so big that seeing them almost turns into an immersive experience.

In 2009, this series was displayed in the Louvre in Paris, right next to the Da Vinci Mona Lisa, for an interaction between classical and contemporary art. That was in fact the first time that a follow-up Mona Lisa had made it into the prestigious museum; and of course, this dialogue between artists from different times, suits the narrative of the Louvre Abu Dhabi really well.
The way Pei-Ming has portrayed hid dead father as alive, and himself as dead, plays with the idea that in order to enter the Louvre, an artist must be dead.

There are many stories to tell around these paintings, and I really find they have found their space here at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The eternal discourse around Mona Lisa continues here, but in a completely new way.

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