'A Picture of War is Not War', we read in Hito Steyerl's iconic film November (2004), an essayistic Super 8 film tackling the definition of terrorism constructed around the figure of the artist's best friend Andrea Wolf, who was killed as a terrorist in 1998 in Eastern Anatolia after she joined the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party). Mixing documentary...
There has been a flurry of triennial and biennial art activity in Japan this year. The Aichi Triennale opened in Nagoya this August, sparking a national debate about the shutting down of a display of formerly censored works—the result of public backlash against a burnt image of Emperor Hirohito and a statue commemorating the women forced into...
Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...
Etel Adnan: Elsewhere features new works by Etel Adnan in the artist's first solo exhibition of prints in a London gallery. Acclaimed throughout her life for her writing, particularly her poetry, it was not until her inclusion in Documenta 13 in Germany in 2012 that she came to prominence as a visual artist. She has now been celebrated in major solo exhibitions all over the world, including San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA (2018); Zentrum Paul Klee, Lucerne, Switzerland (2018); Serpentine Galleries, London (2016); and Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2015).
More recently, Adnan has incorporated printmaking into her practice, and our exhibition features a selection of prints created over the past year and a half. The works depict landscapes of personal importance, rendered with large bands of pure colour and through recurring abstract motifs.
Adnan was born in 1925 in French-speaking Beirut to a Syrian father and a Greek mother. Her international roots and her studies in philosophy in Paris and the USA led her to a fascination with language. It was not until the artist was 36 that she turned to painting as a means of artistic expression, a move that was prompted, in part, by her decision to stop writing in French following the Algerian War in the early 1960s. Adnan's work explores both the political and personal dimensions of her exile from familiar landscapes and languages.
For this new body of etchings, Adnan depicts mountains, skylines, sunsets, oceans, and vast stretches of land from memory. A landscape distilled into large strips of yellow and orange in En vers le desert (2017) is reminiscent of her native Lebanon, whilst warm skies and brightly coloured fields in Paysage du Feu (2017) recall the scenery of Mount Tamalpais in California, a landscape Adnan viewed from her window during her time teaching at the Dominican College of San Rafael from the 1950s to the 1970s.
Adnan comments, 'I am particularly sensitive to places, to wherever I am. Places act on us like the quality of the water affects fish. Places are a part of nature, of the bigger picture. We are interrelated. When we contemplate them on their own right they can sometimes change our lives, they can sometimes become spiritual experiences.'
Having found expression in poetry, scholarship, painting and now printmaking, her work is a testament to a deep curiosity and engagement with the world, be that political, personal or physical.
Etel Adnan: Elsewhere will be exhibited in the Print Project Space which presents an ongoing programme of public displays featuring works by the gallery's roster of international artists.
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