See in order to paint, paint in order to see. Etel Adnan
About the exhibition
Sunday 13 January 2019, Alice Mogabgab Gallery, founded in Beirut in 1994, inaugurates its new Brussels space with the first solo exhibition in Belgium by Etel Adnan.
Etel Adnan, encres, dessins, leporello presents two sets of work originating from private collections in Lebanon, acquired by the gallery over the last ten years.
The first set, composed of thirteen ink and pencil drawings, is dedicated to the tree, the trunk and its crown. Whether it is a single tree, two or three together or a small wood, Adnan uses bold gestures when depicting this symbol of life. From uprooting to a celebration of the world, from rifts and tears to a final fulfilment, from writing to self-portraiture: Each and every tree is a song, Adnan wrote in a poem published by Alice Mogabgab Gallery in 2017.
The second set is entitled Forests. Thirteen diptychs painted with water colour and ink form a series presented in a leporello of an exceptional format, undoubtedly one of the largest ever produced by Etel Adnan. Here, the branches are replaced by explosions of colour, glorifying at once the tree and the painting. My paintings and drawings are a celebration of the world writes the artist.
Le bonheur de la volonté / The Joy of Willingness is the title of the French, Dutch, English and Arabic booklet accompanying the exhibition. The text is written by Michel Baudson and the publication is designed, printed and published in Beirut by the gallery.
The wide reputation of Etel Adnan’s work has in recent years reached undeniable international dimensions, reflecting its artistic and literary qualities as well as the many different facets of the artist’s personality. All her work – paintings, pencil and ink drawings, textiles, ceramics, calligraphy, leporellos – impresses us by its beauty and lightness of the forms and colours, and by the evident spontaneity of its creator, affirming the immediacy of her expressive desire as much as its gestation, says the author in his introduction.
Michel Baudson is Honorary Director of the Royal Academy of Fine Art in Brussels; Honorary Director of the Belgian Association of Art Critics; Director of Jeunesse et Arts Plastiques (Youth and Creative Arts); member of the Commission consultative des Arts Plastiques de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles; guest lecturer at the Xi’An Academy of Fine Art in Shaanxi, China; member of the AICA (International Association of Art Critics) and of the ICOM (International Commission of Museums). He is a curator of international exhibitions and the author of numerous publications.
The gallery’s first collaboration with Michel Baudson dates back to 2011, when he was invited to supervise the Beirut group exhibition De l’arbre à la forêt (From Tree to Forest), a recurring theme dear to the author. This was followed by Des jardins, des montagnes (Gardens, Mountains), paintings by Pascal Courcelles (2011), Murmures/Whisperings, paintings by Li Wei (2016) and Etel Adnan, encres, dessins, leporello (Etel Adnan, ink, pencil, leporello), each accompanied by a publication.
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