Impossible Homecoming is a retrospective exhibition of artist and poet Etel Adnan, whose life spanned nearly a century.
The daughter of a Smyrian Greek mother and a Damascene Ottoman officer, the artist was born in Beirut in 1925 to a multilingual, multi-faith, and multi-cultural family and region, and her works reflect the traces of this rich identity. Etel Adnan was never indifferent to the wars and political-social upheavals that beset her life, which found their way into the works she created, be they written or painted, or at times both.
Etel Adnan’s interpretation of the physical world surrounding her is natural – her unique abstract landscapes and the works that deal with subjects such as mountains, color, writing, memory, and time are the results of the fragile and dynamic relationship she has forged with the world.
Curated by Serhan Ada and Simone Fattal, the exhibition includes ceramics, carpets, leporellos, oil paintings, drawings, prints, and a film by the artist who “has mastered more than one medium.” Visitors can also listen to recorded interviews made with the artist at various points in her life.
The artist began painting in the US while teaching art philosophy and aesthetics; her early work includes simple abstract compositions and abstract carpets she designed with the inspiration she found in Eastern carpets. In her leporellos, she combined drawings, poetry, and prose, demonstrating the parallels between her interest in and practice of literature on the one hand and her visual expression on the other.
The artist is productive in many different media; the wonderful forms in her works and the simplicity of her artistic expression cross linguistic, cultural, and geographical borders to communicate with the audience.
Etel Adnan opens up a deep space of discovery and interpretation for the audience with her seasons, landscapes, signs, imaginary planets and satellites in the sky, and impressive energy.