Al Fann exhibition - Art from the Islamic Civilisation from the al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait

Client: Kunsthistorisches Museum
Location: Vienna / Austria
Year: 2011
Supervision: Horst Campman


The Al Sabah Collection of Islamic Art is one of the most important collections of Islamic art in the world. The result of four decades of connoisseurship, it was assembled by Sheikh Nasser and Sheikha Hussah al Sabah of Kuwait. The aim of this large exhibition, which includes countless masterpieces, is to introduce visitors to the wealth of over a thousand years of Islamic art and history. Islamic civilisation once extended from Spain to India and China, responding to and interacting with the many cultures it encountered. The show tells of the exchange and respect between these different civilisations as documented in art. It includes around 350 objects that represent all the major artistic media (arms, jewellery, manuscripts, carpets and textiles, works in stone, metal and wood). Even in the era of the ‘Global Village’ and communications which are characterized by specialized technology, nothing else can provide the emotional and informational impact of an exhibition. The visitor is in the privileged position of having the opportunity to start an authentic and personal dialogue with objects, which in many cases are unique pieces and sometimes real masterpieces. Here the viewer can enter into direct contact with different cultures and civilizations which too often are still considered to be far away and/or inaccessible. Art is still the best and most important testimonial and an ambassador for what past generations were able to produce, and how they thought and felt, conveying a concrete sense of their sophistication. To represent this is not only a privilege but also a specific and inescapable duty of cultural institutions.