From A-Z: Etel Adnan + Hans Ulrich Obrist
A lively mix of poetry, art and philosophy, this conversation between curator Hans Ulrich Obrist and artist Etel Adnan takes its form from the seminal documentary L'Abécédaire de Gilles Deleuze (1996) and Adnan's poetry collection From A-Z (1982).
In the form of an alphabet of ideas, the discussion -- which is in turn irreverent and profound -- spans subjects as broad as animals, the notion of globalisation, opera, painting and Adnan's beloved Sausalito.
HENI Talks had the privilege of filming this intimate conversation between friends in Adnan's Paris home and studio in 2017.
Artist / Writer
Etel Adnan's career spans several decades and encompasses a wide range of media --- including painting, drawing, tapestry, film, ceramics, and leporello artist books --- as it does traditions and locations. Adnan was first an author of poetry and prose, often addressing and protesting against the turmoil of the Vietnam War and the Lebanese Civil War. Informing her writing and later her artwork as well, was the landscape, its own history and her emotional and physical response to it. For Adnan, the landscape is mingled with memory, especially a sentiment of displacement, as she was born and raised in Lebanon, but has lived, studied, and worked in France and California throughout her life.
In 2012, Adnan was included in Documenta (13) in Germany. Since then, numerous museums have presented solo exhibitions of the artist's work, including Mudam Luxembourg -- Musée d'art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg City (2019); Aspen Museum of Art, Aspen, Colorado (2019); SFMoMA, California (2018); Zentrum Paul Klee, Switzerland (2018); MASS MoCA, Massachusetts (2018); Institute du Monde Arabe, France (2017); the Serpentine Gallery, England (2016); Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Switzerland (2016); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Ireland (2015); Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Austria (2014-2015); and Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Qatar (2014). Adnan's work is included in major public collections such as the British Museum, England; Centre Pompidou, France; Institut du Monde Arabe, France; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; M+, Hong Kong, China; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, Tunisia; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Adnan's work is included in major public collections such as the British Museum, England; Centre Pompidou, France; Institut du Monde Arabe, France; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; M+, Hong Kong, China; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, Tunisia; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Adnan was born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1925. She currently lives and works in Paris, France.
Hans Ulrich Obrist
Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries
Hans Ulrich Obrist (b. 1968, Zurich, Switzerland) is Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries, London. Prior to this, he was the Curator of the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Since his first show 'World Soup (The Kitchen Show)' in 1991 he has curated more than 300 shows.
So far in 2018, Obrist has co-curated at the Serpentine Galleries a solo show for Rose Wylie. In 2014 he curated the Swiss Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Biennale in Venice, where he presented 'Lucius Burckhardt and Cedric Price --- A stroll through a fun palace'; the building was designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron, and the program was developed with artists Liam Gillick, Philippe Parreno, Tino Sehgal and Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster. Obrist's Art of Handwriting project is taking place on Instagram and is a protest against the disappearance of handwriting in the digital age.
In 2013, Obrist co-founded with Simon Castets the 89plus, a long-term, international, multi-platform research project, conceived as a mapping of the digitally native generation born in or after 1989. In 2011 Obrist received the CCS Bard Award for Curatorial Excellence, in 2009 he was made Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), and in 2015 he received the International Folkwang Prize for his commitment to the arts. Obrist has lectured internationally at academic and art institutions, and is contributing editor to several magazines and journals.
Obrist's recent publications include Mondialité, Conversations in Mexico, Conversations in Colombia, Ways of Curating, The Age of Earthquakes with Douglas Coupland and Shumon Basar, and Lives of The Artists, Lives of The Architects.
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