ETEL ADNAN & SIMONE FATTAL: WORKING TOGETHER
The first Italian double debut
for the artist couple
6 May – 5 November 2022
Opening: 6 May at 6 PM
The first Italian double debut for the artist couple, active from the Seventies. An intimate and domestic exhibition conveying the warmth of the artists’ work across painting, sculpture and literature, with more than sixty works.
Paintings and sculptures, but also books, poems and everyday items. Etel Adnan & Simone Fattal: Working Together, curated by Vincenzo de Bellis, is the first Italian double debut for the two work and life partners active from the Seventies. From 6 May to 5 November 2022, the intimate and domestic work of the two artists will find a home in the library of the Antonio Dalle Nogare Foundation in Bolzano, which will turn into an exhibition space for the first time on the occasion.
Etel Adnan (Beirut, 1925 – Paris, 2021) and Simone Fattal (Damascus, 1942) met in Beirut in the Seventies. They have since then lived together between Paris, Beirut and North California, working and experimenting across media. Before turning to the visual arts, the duo devoted themselves to literature. Adnan was a poet and a painter while Fattal is a sculptor and founder of Post-Apollo Press, a publishing house specialising in history, politics, social science and gender studies. The strength of the two artists lies in the multidisciplinary nature of their oeuvre. The literary undertones permeating their work are an equally strong backbone.
Their partnership feeds into their artistic practice. In their Parisian apartment, Etel Adnan had her personal studio, where she used to compose poetry and paint all at the same desk. Across the house, are the everyday items, ceramics and sculptures that Simone Fattal has realised in a studio not far from home.
Over the years, it was with a certain frequency that the practice of the two artists crisscrossed and fused. The home is certainly the most intimate seat where these renewed encounters took place and consequently, where the essence of the two artists is best preserved, both as individuals and as a couple. On these premises was born the choice of the Fondazione to turn the intimate environment of its library into an exhibition space for the first time. The warmth of the works on display is couched in a domestic space wherein living room, library, kitchen and dining room all come together.
The exhibition comprises a wide selection of works: around thirty works by Etel Adnan, including paintings, tapestries, leporellos and drawings; and thirty works by Simone Fattal, ranging from sculptures to tapestries. Artworks blend with personal items, with books written by one artist and edited by the other, with books about the couple’s work, with books that influenced their practice and with books by authors whom the duo befriended. The exhibition invites visitors to transcend mere looking in favour of reading and leafing through the books and catalogues scattered around. The aim is to allow for a mimetic immersion into the life of the two artists while sipping tea or drinking coffee in one of the mugs realised by Simone Fattal herself.
Etel Adnan & Simone Fattal: Working Together represents a unique endeavour for two main reasons. First, it brings together the work of the two artists after Etel Adnan’s recent departure. Second, in a space devoted to the visual arts, it focuses on the role that literature played in the career of both artists and on the influence that this had on their visual practice, individually and as a couple.
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