Preface to the third edition: Acknowledgments, 2014-2019
Of the 18,000 objects held in the collection of the Paris Louvre’s Département des Arts de l’Islam, nine were sent to Louvre Abu Dhabi for the museum’s 2017 opening. By the time they landed in Abu Dhabi, the objects had undergone two distinctive physical transformations: each object’s “face” had shifted to another’s, and the affected objects curiously lacked shadows.
With the opening approaching and at a loss about the bizarre situation, the museum’s conservator decided to paint fake shadows next to each object. Remarkably, the fake shadows somehow brought forth the real ones.
As for the swapping of the objects’ faces, it remains unsolved.
Here, I display the objects on walls I designed with their real and prosthetic shadows.