The Serpentine Gallery is exhibiting the UK’s first solo exhibition of Lebanese-American artist Etel Adnan. Entitled ‘The Weight of the World’ the show features drawings, paintings, poetry, film and tapestries. It spans the entire career of the 91 year old artist, a truly remarkable retrospective and is hung chronologically to allow us to walk through her personal artistic journey.
Etel Adnan was born in Beirut and spent time in studying in Paris at the Sorbonne and at Harvard - she now lives between Paris and California. In the 1950s she was offered a teaching post at the University of California to teach Philosophy, it was during this time that she began to paint. Adnan had already been writing poetry, and although untrained in fine art, began translating her poetic visions onto canvas as abstract works.
Adnan has always been interested in the beauty of colour and its immediacy which is what we love most about her work. Her early works were abstract and paint was applied directly from the tube. In the 70s she began creating works more suggestive of landscapes and moved to Mount Tamalpais in California which inspired her imagery and poetry.
“Adnan is one of the greatest artists of our time, and a great inspiration to many artists. For over 60 years – as a painter, poet, and the maker of exquisite tapestries – Etel’s work has been underpinned by an intense engagement with the world and with modern history.”
Alongside her painted work, the Serpentine has displayed and Arabic calligraphy and her poetry written on accordion-folded sketchbooks.
One of our favourite aspects of her work are her tapestries, which she has been creating since the 60s. These are inspired by the colours of Persian rugs in the home she grew up in - something we are often also drawn to for inspiration.
The exhibition is on until 11th September 2016 and is a beautifully poetic and uplifting exhibition of a lesser-known female artist finally getting the attention her work deserves - a must see!