Opening Thursday, January 6, 2022, 10:00am to 6:00pm
Galerie Lelong & Co., New York and Paris, are pleased to present Discovery of Immediacy, a solo exhibition of the late artist’s recent work that will encompass both gallery locations. The exhibition will present new paintings and leporellos, completed in the past year before Adnan passed away on November 14, 2021.
When Adnan participated in Documenta 13 (2012) at the age of 87, she quickly drew acclaim as a master colorist, becoming known for her harmonious abstract landscapes. In 2021, the artist completely stripped her works of saturated color in her new oil on canvas series Discovery of Immediacy, using black and white as the primary colors. The works reference the practice of traditional ink painting that rely exclusively on black—and its many gradations through the artist’s hand—to distinguish each stroke from another; hints of color remain, recalling Adnan’s oeuvre. The confinement of the pandemic had directed Adnan back to nature—leading to the artist’s deep observation of the sky and planets—a pleasure she denotes in her intimate canvases.
A new series of leporellos will be presented. They are named after Erquy, a small commune in Brittany, northwestern France where Adnan and her longtime partner Simone Fattal had spent their summers. In 2021, they were interviewed by Hans Ulrich Obrist from their seaside apartment, with Adnan remarking how the commune is a straight line on the sea from her window. Fattal, in response, had shared how Adnan was so “impregnated by this straight line” that she would make a leporello each day, looking at the rocks, trees, surfers, and other people on the beach.
Remarking on her view of the significance of cave paintings as the greatest accomplishment in visual art, the artist had once stated that “to paint is not just a skill, it’s a moment of communication with whatever you are painting. And if you have that strength, that deep natural conviction, that the bison is as important, if not more important than you, then you can paint it. But if you think it’s just a shape, then you just make a shape.” The artist’s conviction is similarly demonstrated in her careful depiction of subjects, scenes of nature and everyday objects captured within the frame in the form of a still life.
The title of Adnan’s show and series Discovery of Immediacy focuses on the “now” in painting as well as in life. In a text by French philosopher Yves Michaud, he notes that her paintbrush glides over the surface, seemingly with no time to dip in saturated color. There is an urgency to the work and the images, which relates to her knowledge of the shortness of life ahead. She had stated quite clearly in her last collection of poems: “I know I am going to die soon.” In this series which she had completed in the fall of 2021 before her death, Adnan bravely removed color to concentrate on the immediate—the now—the moment in which we are fully present before we disappear.
The exhibition is accompanied by the publication of a bilingual book in English and French with an essay by Yves Michaud.
Following CDC guidelines, proof of vaccination is required for entry and masks must be worn at all times during your visit.