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Lebanese-American poet, essayist, and visual artist Etel Adnan now represented by Galerie Lelong
Etel Adnan, Untitled, 2014. Oil on canvas, 27 x 35 cm.© of the Artist, Courtesy of Galerie Lelong, New York & Paris.

NEW YORK, NY.- Galerie Lelong announced the representation of Etel Adnan in Paris and New York.

Etel Adnan’s artistic, poetic, and political engagement serves as the foundation of her artmaking and writing, and in her fluid interconnection of the two practices. 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. Until recently, Adnan divided her time between Sausalito, California, and Paris. In each location, Adnan immersed herself in its culture, language, politics, and history. In her continuing series of landscape paintings of Mount Tamalpais (Marin County, California), Adnan has found an image which is endlessly transformative in her exploration of the intellectual, emotional, and physical challenges of exile and the notion of “home.”

Adnan’s vibrant, expressive paintings, described by the New York Times as “stubbornly radiant abstractions,” demonstrate her commitment to communication that expands beyond the confines of the written or spoken word. Her use of color, shape, gesture, and perception help to create the landscapes for which Adnan is well known. Additionally, Adnan’s accordion-fold books (leporellos) bring together her visual and linguistic prowess, and these books exemplify the global nature of Adnan’s personal history and practice. Adnan’s writings have led to numerous collaborations with artists, poets, and musicians, including the French part of The Civil wars, a multi-language opera by American stage director Robert Wilson. In 1996 the BBC commissioned The Adnan Songbook, poems by Adnan that were set to music by Gavin Bryars. In 2005 Adnan’s Five Senses for One Death were also set to music and performed at the Baalbeck Festival in Lebanon.

Adnan’s work has been exhibited widely. Recently, 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 for her “poetic vision of the world in flux that can feel simultaneously universal and intimate with her simple landscapes and long pages of ink drawings.” In 2012 Adnan presented in Documenta (13), where she was also a Documenta resident artist and writer. As part of Documenta (13), Adnan authored a volume of the exhibition’s notebook series, 100 Notes - 100 Thoughts. This year, Nightboat Books released a two-volume edition of Adnan’s collected writings in English. Galerie Lelong Paris will present a solo exhibition of Adnan’s work in February-March 2015, followed by an exhibition at Galerie Lelong New York in Spring 2015. A joint catalogue, with several essays, will be produced in connection with both exhibitions.

Etel Adnan currently lives and works in Paris at age 89.

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