Galerie Lelong is pleased to announce its first solo exhibition by the Lebanese-born artist and writer Etel Adnan. Adnan’s vibrant, expressive paintings, works on paper, and tapestries demonstrate her commitment to communication beyond the confines of the written or spoken word, and her use of color, shape, gesture, and perception help to create the landscapes for which she is well known in a variety of media. For the first time in New York, a film by the artist will also be on view in the exhibition. Galerie Lelong will host an opening reception on Thursday, April 2, from 6pm to 8pm.
Color and light are the two dynamics that inform Adnan’s ongoing series of landscape paintings of Mount Tamalpais (Marin County, California). Adnan has said that “light is everything for me,” and the sunlight expressed in her paintings and other works is often symbolized by a red rectangle or square. Having left home at an early age, Adnan’s interest in and exploration of physical and emotional diaspora is evident throughout her work, with the concept of returning to a place strengthened through memory. As one of the most important voices in Arab and Arab-American literature, Adnan’s accordion-fold books (leporellos) fuse her visual and linguistic prowess, which Galerie Lelong will present along with two of the artist’s tapestries. Translating the rich colors and delicate sensory shifts of her paintings and works on paper to wool, Adnan’s tapestries recall the vibrant Persian rugs of her childhood.
Equally an artist, social observer, and commentator, Adnan was born in Lebanon in 1925 to
an Arab father from Damascus and Greek mother from Smyrna. After being educated in Beirut, at the Sorbonne, the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard University, Adnan returned to Lebanon in the early 1970s. Six years later, after the first year of the Lebanese Civil War, Adnan moved to Paris where she currently lives and works.
Adnan’s work has been exhibited widely. Last year, The Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar, presented the largest exhibition of her work to date with the retrospective Etel Adnan in All Her Dimensions, curated by Hans-Ulrich Obrist. According to Obrist, Adnan is “one of the great poets of her time and also a wonderful visual artist: so she bridges these two things. . . . What is so key about Etel is also how many artists of the younger generation she inspires. . . . She is an artist’s artist.” Adnan’s inclusion in the 2014 Whitney Biennial garnered significant critical praise, and in 2012, Adnan presented in Documenta (13), where she was also a Documenta resident artist and writer. Adnan authored a volume of Documenta’s notebook series, 100 Notes - 100 Thoughts, and in 2014, Nightboat Books released a two- volume edition of Adnan’s collected writings. The Museum der Moderne, Salzburg recently closed the exhibition Etel Adnan. Writing Mountains. In conjunction with the exhibition and Galerie Lelong Paris’s recent solo exhibition of Adnan’s, a catalogue featuring texts by Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Jean Frémon, and Cole Swensen was produced.