War, flight, trauma, and loss of identity are themes which SIMONE FATTAL explores in her ceramic sculptures, collages, and books. Damascus, Beirut, Paris, and San Francisco are the places that have shaped her nomadic biography. In acknowledgment of her influence as an artist and publisher, the exhibition hall Portikus at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main will present Germany’s first major solo exhibition of Simone Fattal’s multifaceted artistic work.
In her collages of personal items and memorabilia from her private archive, Simone Fattal creates links between chapters of Arabic history with modern contemporary impressions. Her collages consist of disparate pieces that allude to the fractious nature of identities shaped by migration. Her rather abstract ceramic sculptures refer to ancient legends and archaeological finds. The rather strange-looking clay bodies, which she entitled "Warriors,” represent the loss of Mediterranean civilization in the Middle East and a lost, war-scarred generation.
The Lebanese civil war drove Simone Fattal and her life partner, the well-known artist Etel Adnan, to emigrate to California. She established the Post-Apollo Press, which published translated poetic and experimental texts from the Middle East, Europe, and America. The books exhibited at Portikus highlight the importance of the publishing house as a forum for European, Arabic, and American authors, such as Etel Adnan, Marguerite Duras, Fanny Howe, Elfriede Jelinek, and Jalal Toufic. Selected audio clips of contemporary authors provide modern perspectives on historical references. An extensive publication on the exhibition includes essays by some of the artist’s close companions and contemporary queer voices from the Middle East. Admission to the Portikus is free, and students of the Städelschule will offer tours of the exhibition to visitors.
Curated by Carina Bukuts and Liberty Adrien
Reading room participants: Jalal Toufic and Ala Younis, among others
For more information, please visit Portikus Frankfurt's website.