From A-Z: Etel Adnan + Hans Ulrich Obrist

Etel Adnan

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.

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Hans Ulrich Obrist (HUO): So, Etel, I was thinking because we’ve done about 25-30 interviews, it would be nice to do something new. And there is the Abécédaire of Gilles Deleuze in ‘89, ‘88, with very long interviews between Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet for each letter. But it’s also because you have an A-Z, a wonderful book called A-Z.

Etel Adnan (EA): You’re right. I was in New York. It was during the Three Mile Island nuclear accident near Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania. There was a small nuclear accident and it was the first time in America we felt closely the danger of the nuclear. So, we were staying with a friend in New York, in an apartment, and I spent the night writing little poems and then I saw the disappearance of New York as if it was due to a nuclear [accident]. But I don’t mention war, but this feeling of disappearance. And I counted the poems and instead of saying poem 1, 2, 3 page, I said A, B, C, D, because there were as many pages as the letters of the alphabet. But that fit, the feeling of the poem, From A–Z, means there is nothing left, you see, and you rewind from A–Z, would mean you would finish the argument. And, in a way, the poem would finish, and the city would finish at that time.

 

A – Animal

EA: Animal is A. We are a major animal, you forget, one of the animals on earth – and not necessarily the most intelligent. I think some animals are maybe more intelligent. To be intelligent doesn’t mean you are readier to survive, because we think to be intelligent helps you to survive. And there are some powers that some animals have, physical powers, like they can see better at night, or dogs can by smell travel miles and go back to some place. So, animals are mysterious, and instead of making friends of them, we make them insignificant, and that’s a big loss. I would like to have an elephant in my garden. It’s more extraordinary than any work of art. It’s like the ocean for me, it’s a monumental being. So, that type of an animal, we kill just to get a little piece of ivory. It’s criminal. It’s a loss.

 

B – Beirut

HUO: Beautiful and that leads us to B, from the letter A for animal to the letter B. And I think B for Beirut.

EA: Beirut is like a special child. You have ten children, and you have one that creates problems for you all the time – that’s Beirut. And it’s the one you like most! So, this is Beirut for me.

 

C – City

HUO: It’s difficult to talk about the city, because as Italo Calvino talked about the invisible city, a city, that leads us to C for City, a city is of course too complex to be grasped. You cannot have a synthetic image of a city.

EA: Cities are, well. they are the major nineteenth century phenomenon and it keeps going. So, we may have in 50 years in countries more city than countryside. We don’t want to quit cities, it’s an attractive magnetic place.

 

D – Desire

HUO: And you mentioned desire, and that brings us to the next letter. What is desire?

EA: Well, I don’t know what to say of desire… What is the difference between desire and dream? I think desire is stronger, is more precise, it can be painful if it’s very strong. It becomes a manqué, something that you miss, but it’s also what keeps people going. These are different things on different levels… Desire is energy. Well, we are in E already!

 

E – Extinction

HUO: E also stands for Extinction. You were part of the Extinction Marathon at the Serpentine with Gustav Metzger, and I think something which since Deleuze did the Abécédaire has become much, much more pressing, is extinction: the extinction of animals, the extinction of languages, the extinction of life, the extinction of cultures.

EA: Extinction is a visible image of change. For example, even the sun, which is a huge star, has already lived half its life, so it’s already half extinguished. So, everything is dying. So, everything is on the way to extinction. But it’s not death, it’s maybe just change. So, we don’t know. It’s sad psychologically because it hurts even more than death, I don’t know why, maybe because religiously death can bring resurrection, if you are a believer. Extinction has no resurrection in the idea, so it’s the hardest idea; it’s something gone forever. But we have had extinction of species already, we have extinction of civilisations. There were ways of life and of thinking that have disappeared.

 

F – Fog

HUO: And there is of course extinction of beings, extinction of cultures, extinction of all kinds of phenomenon. A book has just come about the extinction, or the disappearance of, fog in London because there used to be a lot of fog in London. And that leads us to F for Fog, because you have written an amazing book on fog, let’s talk about fog!

EA: Well, for me, fog is a wonderful phenomenon. It’s a happening in nature that I find positive. It’s a bit like snow. Snow changes the landscape and fog does the same, it erases things. I think it’s a wonderful thing because we are in sameness all the time, we are in a predictable world of little things. But fog has a beauty. I like it in the city because it takes away huge things, it’s phenomenal. You are more aware of its power in an urban setting.

 

G – Globalisation

HUO: From F to G, it doesn’t appear in Deleuze, but I think 25 years, almost 30 years, after L’Abécédaire, the word ‘global’, the forces of globalisation are effective in almost every word. So, let’s talk about ‘G’ for global. What is your take on ‘global’?

EA: Well, I think globalisation, it’s not an issue. It’s a reality. So, we cannot resist it. It’s hard to find your place in globalisation. And we see the bad side of it, but maybe it will have a good side. I think we should not be afraid because if there is total globalisation, humanity will find new ways to break down, to create a counter energy, for example communities, the idea of a community. I find it very interesting; your country, for example, in total globalisation will not be a land, it will be people of the same ideas, that will be your nation. And why not? We are used to seeing nations as territory because we thought everybody was the same within. Which wasn’t always true, but we did. And if that disappears, we will communicate, we will have loyalty, to people who care for certain things like we do, and call that our identity, our territory.

 

H – Houses

HUO: The first time we met you told me you are scared of houses. Let’s talk about houses. H for houses.

EA: It’s a very good question, because, I don’t know, I must have a problem. I didn’t feel at home as a child in my house. My mother was… We were only three: me, she and father. And she was nice, that’s not the point. But, somehow, I felt that was her house, not my father’s and not mine. Because maybe she was a very tense person and I was always on my guard, I don’t know. I never felt at home. The problem is when you have childhood problems, you look for the opposite, but you look to continue them because they become you. So, I have a problem with houses, it doesn’t mean I didn’t feel at home. But I still have this dream of finding somewhere a house, because I think it has nothing to do with reality. I have been lucky; I did feel at home for the last 50 years of my life. I’ve felt I do have a home, but there is a dream to find another home somewhere which is exotic. I would like a house on a sea of olive trees. It’s like an ocean because it’s silvery. Olive trees catch the light.

 

I – Insomnia

HUO: That’s the next house, that’s beautiful, we should build that house… the house brings us to the letter I. For Deleuze, it’s the I for Idea, but in your case,  I thought we could talk about idea but we could also talk about insomnia. I for insomnia, because it’s the title of the wonderful book Simone published in Post-Apollo Press.

EA: Well, insomnia, I live recently more than ever by night and I’m not that unhappy. I like it, the house is black, and I go sometimes to the window and to see if there are any lights left. It’s biological. I come to life at night, when everybody wants to sleep. You know night is like fog, the landscape changes, you’re not in the same place. And like fog, it takes away all the non-necessary things. So, you are on the road at night, you have the lights of the car, which are your eyes, you need them to move, and once in a while something comes out of the night and it reminds you that there are things which you don’t see well.

 

J – Joy / ‘J’ from Etel Adnan’s From A-Z (1982)

HUO: In Deleuze, it’s J for Joy, here Etel:

Adding one plus one
zeroing on infinity
listening to the radio
killing cockroaches
early morning
Going to California

 

K – Kant

HUO: In Deleuze, there is K for Emmanuel Kant and I wonder if Kant is important for you? But it’s also a possibility to talk about other philosophers, philosophy. Who are the philosophers that are important to you, Kant and beyond Kant?

 

EA: No, no, it’s so common, but I like Nietzsche most, I still do, I really do. And I got to like Heidegger; I know him much less. But it’s not to know a philosopher, it’s to sense who he is. And I feel now I come close to knowing what makes Heidegger go ahead, and I really like him. I wish I knew Schopenhauer more. These philosophers are great poets, they should be read like poets and forget the dogmatic side, if there is, like Hegel… The little that I read is extraordinary, maybe even Descartes Mediation. We should take them like construction, an architecture of ideas. It does not matter if they are true or not, it matters that they hold together, and they stimulate your imagination. So, philosophers are architects of ideas.

 

L – Literature

HUO: That is a very important definition. L for Literature. What is literature?

EA: I think the new problem in literature, or the new question, is people writing in adopted languages because literature was the end of poetry, it came out of poetry, and poetry was tribal. They knew it by heart, and it told the history and emotion of the tribe. In Lebanon we have that, the guy recites poetry, everybody knows it by heart, it belongs to them. Now with modern typing and newspapers, literature came, with the invention of printing, and today the new question is, people write in countries which are not their own. They write in a foreign language, but they also bring worries, or questions, that do not interest necessarily that country. So, they become… like me, for example, I am considered as an A-American poet.  I am lucky for that, I am part of the American scene but at the same time so much of my work, not all of it, like Fog and Sea could be American, but half my work is about the problems in Lebanon and the Arab world and that doesn’t have the same resonance.

So, where is my public? The public of that writing should have been in in Lebanon and in the Arab world and written in Arabic. And I was one of the earlier people to have that problem. But today, even within Lebanon, some people write in French and there are still people in Lebanon who don’t read French with pleasure, others write in English, others write in Arabic, even some Armenians write in Armenian, so it is a new situation, which is a difficulty. Where is your public? For whom are you writing?

 

M – Mount Tamalpais

HUO: M for Mount Tamalpais. You once told me that the Mount Tamalpais is your best friend. It’s like for Cézanne Mont Sainte Victoire. Let’s talk about Mount Tamalpais.

EA: Yes, it was was my point of reference, it was like a pole, when I saw it, I felt at home. It has something to do with a landmark that orients you, not physically but emotionally also, that’s one way to put it.

 

N – Nada

EA: Maybe N for Nada, the Spanish word nada.

HUO: Nothing.

EA: Nothing.

HUO: Nada de nada

EA: Nada. Because nada is really St. John of the Cross’ major notion. It’s not empty, his nothingness. Ultimately, he didn’t say that, but it could be god. The thing, which is the opposite of everything, the thing on which you can say nothing. It’s a beautiful Spanish word, nada. Rien, the word ‘rien’, doesn’t have culture…  because it takes one great philosopher, or mystic, to give a meaning to a word.

 

O – Opera

HUO: O for Opera.

EA: It’s funny, I don’t go to the opera because I think classical operas are built around one person, and when that person is not on scene, you are bored, you wait for the great soprano to come back. You suffer until she comes back. But I love the opera as an idea of expression. The place of music on stage. The Greeks had that with the choir. I like contemporary opera because I think it catches your interest all the time. Janáček is one of what I consider the early moderns. And I have seen a few modern operas like Mahogany, by Brecht. I love opera, contemporary opera, because the tension is constant.

 

P – Painting

HUO: That leads us to P for Painting. You once told me that whilst your literature is rather dark, like in Sitt Marie Rose, and in many other books, you deal with many dark topics of war, The Arab Apocalypse, but your paintings emanate a great sense of life. What about painting? P for painting.

EA: So, my paintings are really more addressing the world, and this is a notion we share, in the world. Even if they don’t see where it comes from, they can translate it in their own landscapes, in their own colours, but at least you share colours with them. Painting, that’s why you have fairs. You can travel with paintings because you consider that people from anywhere will get something out of it. Maybe not what you put in it, but what you put in it was not worthy anyway. You don’t know yourself what you put in it.

 

Q – Question

HUO: Q is the Question. What is the question?

EA: You know, I discovered that sometimes a question is not meant to have an answer, not that it’s important to have a question. The question is an answer, you can’t go further. A question is like a cry, like shouting. I just discovered that yesterday, that suddenly a question appeared to me, self-sufficient by nature. Not that I didn’t want an answer, or that we can’t have an answer, it’s that it’s not meant to, that it’s not in relation to an answer. It’s suspended. A question becomes a revelation.

 

R – Red
HUO: We’ve been looking here at some of your paintings, and we talked about Paul Klee, and you said the colour red is the strongest colour, and it’s also your favourite colour. Can we talk about red in painting?

EA: I like red, for some people it’s the colour of blood but that’s not my idea and blood has a beautiful colour, it’s only that we link it to surgery and war. But it is nice…. I don’t know even know if it’s nice, but I think it’s a colour that gives you an uplift, very simply. Of course, if you had a whole red room, you’d go crazy… I have to make an effort sometimes not to start with a red colour. It’s my instinct. I don’t know why I need that there, and then it started. But, very often I make an effort, otherwise there would be a red square in every one.

 

S – Sausalito

HUO: S for Sausalito.

EA: The nicest place on earth!

HUO: Why is it the nicest place on earth?

EA: Without comparing, it’s a magic place, maybe not the best in the world. It’s near San Francisco, which means you are near a major city, and you are in a village of 7,000 people. It’s small and it has a view from everywhere because it’s made up of little hills. It’s only 5-6 miles from the city. It’s on a bay. It’s forbidden to add floors on the buildings. There are no modern buildings. There are houses in wood or in stucco, with gardens. It’s a paradise.  It has what you need in life, not more.

 

T – Tower of Babel

HUO: T for Tower of Babel. In Europe, and in the world right now, there are so many new forms of nationalism, of xenophobia. The celebration of the Tower of Babel is more important than ever before, the idea that we celebrate the many languages. T for Tower of Babel.

EA: Yes, the Tower of Babel was positive for me. I like so often to hear unexpectedly languages I don’t understand. You see the rhythm, you see the sound pattern, you see the language, you get it from a different angle. It’s wonderful. 

HUO: The Tower of Babel also as a celebration of multiple languages, as a celebration of….

EA: Which means multiple cultures, histories, because languages are not dead, they’re not an object, they are the construction of millions of people throughout time. Languages are extraordinary things, imagine how many people in history have used what we are using right now – and what it took, and how it’s evolved. Enormous.

  

U – Universe

HUO: U for Universe.

EA: The universe is closer to everybody. It starts with a physical notion and it can go on from there. It’s an open-ended notion. By definition it doesn’t have boundaries on any level.

 

V – Voyage

HUO: V for voyage. La voyage.

EA: ‘La voyage’, that’s wonderful. More and more I like the mental voyage… We always speak of voyage as transportation of the body, and we forget, at least I forget, thinking as a voyage.

 

W – Word  

HUO: W stands for word. When I spoke to Mahmoud Darwish, the poet, he said Etel has basically never written a bad sentence, it’s always great literature. So that’s of course what she does with words. And poetry isn’t really about words, but it needs words.

 

X – Erases

HUO: And X

EA: X – We don’t like X because it erases, X is a scary, scary letter, it’s always ‘stay out’ and danger.

 

Y – Why?

HUO: and Y?

EA: ‘Why’ is a nice word. It’s a major question. The beginning of consciousness and of science and of everything. Why? It’s a very important notion. Human beings when they said ‘why’.

 

Z – Zebra and Z poem from Etel Adnan’s From A-Z (1982)

HUO: And that leads us to Z. Gilles Deleuze uses Z for Zig-zag.

EA: Or Zebra! It’s a beautiful animal…

HUO: Z, like in A-Z, Z is the last letter, it has only just begun.

Z

There was a transfer
of power between
the mouse and the deer:
it happened in
Central Park
while you were on a
glider and on your
skis
A mountain was
pulsating in the
thin air.

 

…thank you so much!

With thanks to

Galerie Lelong & Co.

Serpentine Galleries

Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut

Simone Fattal

 

Archive

Getty Images

 

Music

Borrtex, Lights of Winter, 2018

(CC BY-NC 4.0)

 

Credits

Etel Adnan At Home and In Her Studio Workshop, 2015

Catherine Panchout / Sygma / Getty Images

 

Le poids du monde 2

Etel Adnan, 2016

Oil on canvas

12 3/16 x 9 7/8 in

31630/W19366

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Etel Adnan surveying her paintings, Paris, 2017

Courtesy of HENI

 

Etel Adnan: The Weight of the World, Installation view at the Serpentine Gallery (Mountain Leporello)

Tristan Fewings / Getty Images

 

‘Untitled’ by Etel Adnan

Tristan Fewings / Getty Images for Sotheby’s

 

Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in France in 1980

Marc GANTIER / Gamma-Rapho / Getty Images

 

FROM A TO Z

Etel Adnan, 1982

Poetry, 30 pp.

The Post-Apollo Press

ISBN: 9978-0942996-0-05

 

Statue of Liberty and Manhattan in New York

Narvikk / Getty Images

 

New York City skyline

Nico De Pasquale Photography / Getty Images

 

A sign explains the Three Mile Island nuclear accident that occurred in 1979

Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg / Getty Images

 

Panorama of New York at sunrise with skyline

Frank Lee / Getty Images

 

Aerial view of pedestrians walking

Orbon Alija / Getty Images

 

Antarctica, overhead aerial view of Adelie penguins

Zoey Johnson / Getty Images

 

Emperor penguins jumping to water, Antarctica

Tartan Dragon Ltd. / Getty Images

 

Feet of African elephant (Loxodonta africana)

BBC Natural History / Getty Images

 

African elephant chewing

John Downer Productions / Getty Images

 

Elephant Running in Grassland

Sony Pictures Entertainment / Getty Images

 

Bourj el-Barajneh – Southern Beirut

Gogoloji / Getty Images

 

Hamra district

Maremagnum / Getty Images

 

Aerial view Bourj el-Barajneh – Southern Beirut

Gogoloji / Getty Images

 

Lebanese protesters rallying outside the Mohammed al-Amin Mosque

AFP / Getty Images

 

Etel Adnan: The Weight of the World
Installation view (Details of San Gimignano 2, 2013, leporello)

Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London (2 June – 11 September 2016)

Image © Jerry Hardman-Jones

 

Etel Adnan: The Weight of the World
Installation view (Screen)

Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London (2 June – 11 September 2016)

Tristan Fewings / Getty Images for Serpentine Galleries

 

Aix-en-Provence 4

Etel Adnan, 1990

Pencil on paper

12 5/8 x 9 1/4 in

W19869
Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Sans titre

Etel Adnan, 1992

Ink on Japan paper

24 5/8 x 39 in

33169/W17982

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Sans titre

Etel Adnan, 2015

Oil on canvas

16 1/8 x 13 in

31087/W18567

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Le poids de la lune 7

Etel Adnan, 2017

Oil on canvas

13 x 9 7/16 in

32486/W20192

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

 

Le poids de la lune 9

Etel Adnan, 2017

Oil on canvas

13 x 9 7/16 in

32763/W20194

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Le poids du monde 40

Etel Adnan, 2019

Oil on canvas

12 13/16 x 9 7/16 in

W21930

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

A magnificent sunset with the apple of sun on the horizon

Katrin Ray Shumakov / Getty Images

 

The great North American total eclipse, 2017

john finney photography / Getty Images

 

Le poids du monde 13

Etel Adnan, 2016

Oil on canvas

11 13/16 x 9 7/16 in

31657/W19377

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Le poids du monde 14

Etel Adnan, 2016

Oil on canvas

11 13/16 x 9 7/16 in

31644/W19378

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Heavy smog in Piccadilly Circus, London, 6th December 1952

Central Press / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

 

Clock Tower And Building At Sunrise

Adrin David Gonzlez Brito / EyeEm / Getty Images

 

A foggy day in Lincoln’s Inn, London

General Photographic Agency

 

On a foggy night, a man on a motorcycle waits at a pedestrian cross-walk, London, England, 1952

Carl Mydans / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images

 

London shrouded in mist

Gary Yeowell / Getty Images

 

City of London

Michael Dunning / Getty Images

 

Journey

Etel Adnan, 2018

Etching

Edition of 35

17 15/16 x 29 15/16 in

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

The New Sun of the Aztecs

Etel Adnan, 2017

Installation view, Sonora 128, Mexico City

Courtesy of the artist, kurimanzutto Mexico City, and Sfeir-Semler Gallery Beirut/Hamburg

Photo by PJ Rountree

 

Le poids du monde 8

Etel Adnan, 2016

Oil on canvas

11 13/16 x 9 7/16 in

31656/W19372

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Le poids du monde 30

Etel Adnan, 2017

Oil on canvas

13 x 9 7/16 in

32570/W19974

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Olivo

Siegfried Haasch / Getty Images

 

Olive grove

Christian Dauphin / Getty Images

 

Olive tree with leaves

miodrag ignjatovic / Getty Images

 

IN/SOMNIA

Etel Adnan, 2003

Poetry, 34 pp.

The Post-Apollo Press

ISBN: 978-0-942996-48-7

 

Paris streets at evening

martin-dm / Getty Images

 

Le poids de la lune 14

Etel Adnan, 2018

Oil on canvas

13 x 9 7/16 in

33116/W20977

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Paris at night

HNH Images / Getty Images

 

A woman strolls down a backstreet at night, 1 April 1949

Michael Ochs Archive / Getty Images

 

Illuminated Building

Cindy Angoulevent / EyeEm / Getty Images

 

Road trip at foggy night

Bojanstory / Getty Images

 

Illuminated Buildings In City At Night

Anastasia Popova / EyeEm / Getty Images

 

Driving on rural dirt road at twilight

WW News / Getty Images

 

Hand adjusting knobs on car dashboard

Warner Bros. Studios / Getty Images

 

Driving down palm tree-lined street, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles

Energy Films Library / Getty Images

 

Nietzsche, c.1885

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

 

Martin Heidegger, 1934

ullstein bild / Getty Images

 

Schopenhauer, Arthur, 1855

ullstein bild / Getty Images

 

SEA AND FOG

Etel Adnan, 2012

Poetry

Nightboat Books

ISBN: 978-0-9844-5987-2

 

THE ARAB APOCALYPSE

Poetry, 82 pp.

1989 (1st edition)
Translated from the French by the author
The Post-Apollo Press

ISBN: 978-0-942996-60-9

 

SITT MARIE ROSE

Etel Adnan, 2011, 8th edition

Translated from the French by Georgina Kleege

Novel, 105 pp.

The Post-Apollo Press

ISBN: 978-0-942996-33-3

 

Signs

Etel Adnan, 2018

Ink on paper

11 7/16 x 3 3/4 ; longueur du livret : 208 13/16 in

W21164

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Etel Adnan: The Weight of the World, Installation view at the Serpentine Gallery (Colourful Leporello)

Tristan Fewings / Getty Images

 

Etel Adnan: The Weight of the World, Installation view at the Serpentine Gallery (red spot colour leporello)

Tristan Fewings / Getty Images

 

Etel Adnan
Photo by Simone Fattal

 

Mont Tamalpaïs I

Etel Adnan, 1989

Pencil and watercolor on paper

9 7/16 x 12 7/16 in

32541/W20699

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Mont Tamalpaïs IV

Etel Adnan, 1989

9 7/16 x 12 7/16 in

32538/W20702

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Mont Tamalpaïs II

Etel Adnan, 1989

9 7/16 x 12 7/16 in

32540/W20700

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Untitled (Sausalito)

Etel Adnan, c. 1980

Oil on canvas

20 x 25 cm

Courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery Beirut/Hamburg.

 

Prague, Hlavni mesto Praha, Czech Republic

Christer Fredriksson/ Getty Images

 

Opera singer standing between curtains on stage

Siri Stafford / Getty Images

 

Production of Aida

Gail Mooney / Corbis / Getty Images

 

Title page of From the House of the Dead, 1930, opera in three acts by Leos Janacek

De Agostini / Getty Images

 

The Forester (Neil Easton) catches the Vixen (June Bronhill) during rehearsals for Janacek’s fairy-tale opera ‘The Cunning Little Vixen’ at Sadler’s Wells, London

Central Press / Getty Images

 

Raymond Nilsson (1915 – 1998) as ‘The Schoolmaster’ with children in snail costume during rehearsals for a scene from Janacek’s opera ‘The Cunning Little Vixen’

Terry Disney / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

 

Leos Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen at Glyndebourne

robbie jack / Corbis / Getty Images

 

Leos Janacek’s “The Cunning Little Vixen” conducted by Charles Mackerras and directed by Bill Bryden at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London

robbie jack / Corbis / Getty Images

 

Staging of Bertholt Brecht’s play ‘Drums in the Night’

ullstein bild / Getty Images

 

 The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, Staatliches Kammertheater, Moscow, Photograph by Sojus-Foto, 1930

Imagno / Getty Images

 

Etel Adnan: The Weight of the World
Installation view, Untitled (Mt. Tamalpais 1), c. 1995-2000

Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London (2 June – 11 September 2016)

Image © Jerry Hardman-Jones

 

Etel Adnan: The Weight of the World
Installation view, Untitled, 1965

Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London (2 June – 11 September 2016)

Image © Jerry Hardman-Jones

 

Etel Adnan At Home and In Her Studio Workshop (drawing), 2016

Catherine Panchout / Sygma / Getty Images

 

Etel Adnan At Home and In Her Studio Workshop (with Leporello), 2016

Catherine Panchout / Sygma / Getty Images

 

Etel Adnan: The Weight of the World
Installation view (Weight of the World 1-20, 2016)

Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London (2 June – 11 September 2016)

Image © Jerry Hardman-Jones

 

Etel Adnan: The Weight of the World, Installation view at the Serpentine Gallery

(Woman in black looking at works)

Tristan Fewings / Getty Images

 

Etel Adnan: The Weight of the World, Installation view at the Serpentine Gallery

(Woman looking at Mt. Tamalpais works)

Tristan Fewings / Getty Images

 

Etel Adnan: The Weight of the World, Installation view at the Serpentine Gallery (WS)

Tristan Fewings / Getty Images

 

Sans titre

Etel Adnan, 2014

Oil on canvas

13 13/16 x 10 5/8 in

31070/W18202

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Le poids de la lune 15

Etel Adnan, 2018

Oil on canvas

13 x 9 7/16 in

32900/W20978

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Le poids du monde 12

Etel Adnan, 2016

Oil on canvas

11 13/16 x 9 7/16 in 31651/W19376

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Le poids du monde 14

Etel Adnan, 2016

Oil on canvas

11 13/16 x 9 7/16 in

31651/ W19378

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Le poids du monde 11

Etel Adnan, 2016

Oil on canvas

11 13/16 x 9 7/16 in

31651/ W19375

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Untitled

Etel Adnan, 2014

Oil on canvas

9 7/16 x 11 13/16 in

30649/W18063

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Etel Adnan: The Weight of the World
Installation view, Untitled, 1972-75

Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London (2 June – 11 September 2016)

Image © Jerry Hardman-Jones

 

Untitled

Etel Adnan, 2013

Oil on canvas

24 x 30 cm

Courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery Beirut/Hamburg.

 

Sans titre (detail)

Etel Adnan, 2014

Oil on canvas

9 7/16 x 11 13/16 in

31074/W18465

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Le poids du monde 23

Etel Adnan, 2016

Oil on canvas

11 13/16 x 9 7/16 in

31651/ W19898

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Le tigre à Bagdad

Etel Adnan, 1974

Oil on canvas

57 2/4 x 44 15/16 in

W19718

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Soleil Carré

Etel Adnan, 1989

Wool

34 11/16 x 9 7/8 in

W20067

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Shot of homes on hills in small bay near Bridge way, Sausalito, California

Smithsonian / Getty Images

 

Shot of homes on hills and along bridge way towards Yacht Harbor, Sausalito, California

Smithsonian / Getty Images

 

Buildings in city, Sausalito

EyeEm / Getty Images

 

Golden Gate Bridge

Jean-Pierre Lescourret / Getty Images

 

Sausalito Buildings around Bay

Danny Thomas / EyeEm / Getty Images

 

Residential area on hillside in Sausalito above San Francisco Bay

Cassidy Inc. / Getty Images

  

Signes

Etel Adnan, 2015

India ink on paper

cahier : 9 7/8 x 4 15/16 longueur : 191 7/8 in

W19752

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Etel Adnan: The Weight of the World, Installation view at the Serpentine Gallery (Leporello)

Tristan Fewings / Getty Images

 

The Tower of Babel, 1563. Artist: Bruegel (Brueghel), Pieter, the Elder

Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images

 

Construction of the Tower of Babel, Hendrick van Cleve

Universal History Archive / Getty Images

 

Representation of a black hole

Mrcmrc / Getty Images

 

Animated sequence showing solar activity on the surface of the sun

BBC Universal / Getty Images

 

Le poids du monde 10

Etel Adnan, 2016

Oil on canvas

11 13/16 x 9 7/16 in

31651/ W19374

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Signs

Etel Adnan, 2018

Inkwash painting and purple ink on paper

Book : 7 1/16 x 4 3/4 / Length : 102 7/16 in

W2194

Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Etel Adnan writing

ullstein bild / Getty Images

 

Etel Adnan reading, Paris, 2017

Courtesy of HENI

 

Etel Adnan: The Weight of the World, Installation view at the Serpentine Gallery (Leporello II)

Tristan Fewings / Getty Images

 

Etel Adnan at the table writing, 2016

Catherine Panchout / Sygma / Getty Images

 

Zebra

BullDoGShoP / Getty Images

L’Abécédaire de Gilles Deleuze’, IMDB

Etel Adnan, Late Afternoon Poem, 1968’, MoMA

Etel Adnan’, Official website

Etel Adnan’, Galerie Lelong

Gareth Harris, ‘Etel Adnan: This is the summit of my career’, The Art Newspaper, 13th June 2018

Etel Adnan’, Poetry Foundation

D.T. Max, ‘Hans Ulrich Obrist: The Curator Who Never Sleeps’, New Yorker, 1st December 2014

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