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Etel Adnan at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA)

5 June – 13 September 2015

IMMA presents the work of Lebanese artist, poet, and writer Etel Adnan in a solo exhibition of 30 works opening at IMMA on 5 June 2015. Now in her 90s, Etel Adnan is an extraordinary creative voice and force of artistic renown. She moves freely between writing and art, poetry and tapestry. Many of these creative strands are denoted in the works on display in this exhibition.

A selection of the artist’s enigmatic and diminutive oil paintings showcase her use of rapid, thick strokes and distinctive shapes, representing the landscapes of California and the Mediterranean Sea. These works appear alongside a series of delicate leporellos where the transcriptions of her poems are recorded on unfolding urban landscapes, fusing Adnan’s parallel practice as artist and writer.

One of the leading voices in contemporary Arab American literature since the 1960s, the Adnan exhibition includes a selection of her publications, from her iconic novel Sitt Marie-Rose (Éditions des femmes, 1978) to the Etel Adnan reader, To Look At The Sea Is To Become What One Is (Nightboat Books, 2014).

The exhibition also features two film works; Adnan’s Motion, 2012, a 90-minute silent unfurling of cityscapes, skies and sunsets, and The Otolith Group’s I See Infinite Distance Between Any Point and Another, 2012, a work shot largely in the artist’s Paris apartment which centres on a reading of her poetry. Both films are meditative explorations of nature and our presence within it.

Etel Adnan is presented alongside SUMMER RISING: The IMMA Festival, a 10 day celebration of art, food, music and performance for all ages in the galleries, gardens and grounds of IMMA.

Running 4 June to 13 September 2015. Admission is free.


For further information, and images, please contact Patrice Molloy E: [email protected] T: +353 (0)1 612 9920 or E: [email protected]

Talks and Events

Family Workshop
Saturday 6 June 2015, 12 – 1pm + 2 – 3pm, East Ground Galleries, IMMA

Sometimes We See Better With Our Eyes Closed                                                                                          
Clodagh Emoe (artist) leads an Etel Adnan inspired family workshop. This workshop explores how we encounter and engage with contemporary art. In response to the exhibition of paintings and leporellos by Etel Adnan, this workshop explores how artistic forms invite thought on an experiential, perceptive and imaginative level. This workshop is suitable for children (over the age of 7) and adults alike. Drop in.

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.

Booking is essential for talks. Free tickets available on

About the Artist
Etel Adnan was born in 1925 in Beirut, Lebanon. Recent solo exhibitions include Etel Adnan in All Her Dimensions, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar, 2014; Words and Places: Etel Adnan, Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, USA, 2013; and Etel Adnan, Works 1965 – 2012, Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg, Germany, 2012. Adnan was a featured artist in the most recent Documenta XIII in Kassel, Germany, 2012. She has shown in many group exhibitions, such as Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2014; Rose, CEAAC Centre European D’Actions Artistiqes Contemporaines, Strasbourg, France, 2014; and Tajreed. A Selection of Arab Abstract Art. Part I 1908 – 1960, Contemporary Art Platform, Kuwait, 2013; The Last Grand Tour, Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, Greece, 2011; Tafsir, Martin Gropius Bau Museum, Berlin, 2009; 5 Artists – St Petersburg, L’Hermitage Museum, Russia, 2007; and British Museum, London, 2006.

Etel Adnan’s artworks feature in numerous collections, including Centre Pompidou, Paris, Mathaf, Doha, Qatar, Royal Jordanian Museum, Tunis Modern Art Museum, Sursock Museum, Beirut, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, British Museum, London, World Bank Collection, Washington D.C., and National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington D.C, as well as within many private collections. Also a tapestry designer, she has tapestries in public spaces and private collections. Slides of her tapestries are in the permanent files of the Contemporary Crafts Museums of New York and Los Angeles.

As a writer, Adnan is the author of Sitt Marie-Rose (The Post-Apollo Press, 1982), the celebrated novel on the Civil War in Lebanon that has been translated into ten languages. She has written more than 10 books of poetry, essays, and cultural writings. Among her recent works are Sea and Fog (Nightboat Books, 2011), Seasons (The Post-Apollo Press, 2008), and The Arab Apocalypse (The Post-Apollo Press, 2007). She is a recipient of a 2010 PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles National Literary Award. Adnan studied at the Sorbonne in France, U.C. Berkeley, and Harvard. She taught Philosophy at Dominican College in San Rafael, California. She lives between Sausalito, California; Paris; and Beirut.

Additional Information for Editors
The Otolith Group (Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun) have emerged as one of the most distinctive voices in British contemporary art. Their work is research-based, cross-cultural and concerned with the history and future of moving image practice. They have exhibited at Tate Britain, Nottingham Contemporary, MACBA, Barcelona, the São Paolo Biennale, the Hayward Gallery and many other galleries internationally. In 2010, they were nominated for the Turner Prize. In addition to their artistic practice, The Otolith Group have co-curated exhibitions and publications on Harun Farocki, 2009 and Black Audio Film Collective, 2007. Eshun is also well known as a writer and music scholar, and is author of the influential book, More Brilliant Than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction (Quartet Books, UK, 1999).