Adonis & Haider
between collage and drawing
The collaborative project of Syrian poet and artist Adonis
and Iraqi painter Haider initiates a dialogue that involves
poetry, painting and collage, exposing the aesthetic relationship
between poetic and visual text.
Adonis’s latest artistic compositions have been developed
in tandem with his rich and continually renewed poetic production.
His works emanate with visual planes bursting with original
handwritten poetry that recalls classical Arabic literature
from various eras and civilizations. The great masters of
the Arabic language Al-Ma’arri, Abu Tammam, and Waddah
al-Yaman, all of whom are linked by their rebellious spirit,
their penchant for refusal, and their compulsion for change,
are revived in Adonis's words.
His exploration of writing, however, is executed through calligraphic
forms that are treated pictorially such that they are abstracted;
his letters are turned into ambiguous signs that could belong
to any of a number of languages. Whether these marks, these
writings, are legible or incomprehensible, they elucidate
Adonis’s desire to break free of the rules of language,
to find his own sensory means of communication through fine
art. Adonis’s collages that combine layers of relief
set up a space in contradiction with the smoothness of the
written text that fills them; the two complete each other,
though, in spite of their contrary appearance.
As for the painter Haider, he handles material and color with
sheer sensitivity, building expanses reminiscent of doors
and windows that are often sealed shut and that are laden
with diverse emblematic meanings, time and again referring
to hopelessness and fear despite their radiant hues. The story
of human life and of the history of humanity is hinged on
these inaccessible openings. Through his works, Haider strives
to conceive of a novel rapport between the geometric form
of a painting and its intangible subject matter.
Darat al Funun, in cooperation with the French Cultural Centre
of Amman, is hosting the debut exhibition of this joint project
that will then tour the Arab World and Europe. Most of the
works on display were made in 2007 but some were created in
2005 and 2006.
The poetry of Adonis, who was born in Syria in 1930, has been
translated into several languages. His poems immerse their
reader in the exquisiteness of the place that he immigrated
from over two decades ago but which he never actually left.
Adonis, until today, moves between Damascus, Beirut, and Paris,
where he resides.
Haider, who was born in Iraq in 1954, exhibited his works
for the first time in Baghdad in 1973. He settled as a young
man in France in 1976, thereafter achieving the impressive
feat of his manifold artistic accomplishments. He has been
featured in almost 70 exhibitions in France, Belgium, Switzerland,
Germany, as well as elsewhere over the past 32 years. The
show at Darat al Funun is Haider's premier in the Arab World
since he relocated to Paris.