Language is at the heart of artist and writer Adnan’s practice, both in her work as a poet, novelist and playwright, as well as in her visual prose in paint, textile and ink. Traversing these artistic terrains parallels the geographical transitions made throughout her life, from Beirut, to Paris and to the hills of California. Melding pure abstraction with traces of place, Adnan often applies paint to canvas with a palette knife, creating distinctive masses of colour that recall both discernible landscapes and memories from her life as well as imagined forms brimming with light.
Born in Beirut in 1925, Adnan moved to France to study at the Sorbonne, and later to the United States to first study at UC Berkeley and Harvard before going on to teach. Her writings have often referenced her protest against conflicts – among them the Vietnam War, the Algerian War and the Lebanese Civil War. She refers to her paintings, however, as a reflection of her immense love for the world. In her own words, “I write what I see, I paint what I am.”
The exhibition is curated by Amelie von Wedel and Pernilla Holmes of Wedel Art. Etel Adnan is represented by Galerie Lelong & Co. and we are especially grateful to Patrice Cotensin for his support.