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Exhibitions > Past Exhibitions

Etel Adnan

5 June – 13 September 2015

Etel Adnan, Untitled (#209), 2013, Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 cm, Courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut / Hamburg

Now in her 90s, Adnan is an extraordinary creative voice and force of artistic renown. She moves freely between writing and art, poetry and tapestry and all aspects of her creative output will be reflected in the exhibition.  Adnan was born in 1925 in Beruit and has been one of the leading voices in contemporary Arab American literature since the 1960s.
A selection of Adnan’s enigmatic and colourful oil paintings will showcase her use of rapid, thick stokes representing the landscapes of California and the Mediterranean Sea.  These works will appear alongside a series of delicate leperellos where the transcribes of poems are recorded on unfolding urban landscapes, fusing Adnan’s parallel practice as artist and writer. The exhibition will also include a black and white film, poetry and the recordings of the artist reading from some of her most recent published poems and writings.

About the Artist

Poet, artist and writer Etel Adnan was born in 1925 in Beirut and now lives in California and Paris. Her mother was a Greek from Smyrna, her father, a high ranking Ottoman officer born in Damascus. In Lebanon, she was educated in French schools.

She studied literature at the Sorbonne, Paris, Harvard University and Berkeley University. In 1984, she worked with Robert Wilson on his opera CIVILwarS and has exhibited internationally. Based on her feelings of connection to, and solidarity with the Algerian war of independence, she began to resist the political implications of writing in French and shifted the focus of her creative expression to visual art; becoming a painter. But it was with her participation in the poets’ movement against the war in Vietnam that she began to write poems and became, in her words, “an American poet”.

Her recent publications include Master of the Eclipse (2009), Seasons (2008), In the Heart of the Heart of Another Country (2005), and In/somnia (2002) and most recent solo exhibitions include Callicoon Fine Arts, New York (2014), the Whitney Biennial (2014)and DOCUMENTA 13 (2012).

Talks and Events

In Conversation with Gavin Bryars
Saturday 6 June 2015, 3.30 – 4.30pm, Garden Terrace, IMMA
As a part of SUMMER RISING: The IMMA Festival, Gavin Bryars (composer) and Rachael Thomas (Senior Curator, Head of Exhibitions, IMMA) will discuss music, art and poetry in relation to the work of Etel Adnan. Gavin Bryars has previously worked with John Cage, Cornelius Cardew and John White.

Lunchtime Gallery Talk
Wednesday 1 July 2015, 1.15 – 2.00pm, East Ground Galleries, IMMA

Rachael Gilbourne (Assistant Curator, Exhibitions, IMMA) introduces the new exhibitions of works by renowned artist, poet and writer, Etel Adnan. A selection of Adnan’s colourful oil paintings and delicate leporellos are amongst the works to be explored.

Media Resources

A video is on the IMMA blog featuring Rachael Thomas, Senior Curator: Head of Exhibitions, IMMA, in conversation with artist Etel Adnan, in Paris, 16 May 2015 as well as Rachael Gilbourne, Assistant Curator: Exhibitions, IMMA, introducing the exhibition Etel Adnan at Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.

Emma Haugh - Reading Troupe #04: In conjunction with the More Than One Maker exhibition presented in IMMA’s Project Spaces, artist Emma Haugh  in collaboration with Louis Haugh produced Love is disturbing, a daylong workshop, wall pasted photographic series and zine, incorporating gestural, performative readings of the cost for love we are not willing to pay by Etel Adnan. To download a free copy of the accompanying zine click here.


Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, D08 FW31, Ireland
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