From 3 June to 4 December 2022, the Museum Fünf Kontinente is presenting a selection of works by the contemporary artist Simone Fattal. Eleven works by the artist, who was born in 1942 in Damascus, will be shown as a pop-up exhibition within the permanent exhibition Der Orient. In addition to Fattal’s medium-format ceramic sculptures, several large-format black-and-white etchings will also be on display.
After studying philosophy in Beirut and Paris, Simone Fattal began a career as a painter in Lebanon. In 1980, fleeing the Lebanese civil war, she emigrated to the United States and enrolled at the famous Art Institute of San Francisco to train as a sculptor. She now works in the U.S. and in France and is particularly well-known for her sculpture.
Simone Fattal’s ceramic sculptures reflect her ties with her homeland and the artistic traditions of the Middle East. Her use of clay is reminiscent of the artisanal practices of ancient Mesopotamia, and her choice of material is at the same time an indication of her passion for history and archaeology. Writing about the artist’s sculptures, curator Dr. Anahita Mittertrainer says, ‘In a similar way to which the Sumerian gods Nintu and Enki created a human being out of clay in the Mesopotamian Atra-Hasis epic, Simone Fattal uses this material to fashion beings that seem to have been generated by memory.’
The black-and-white etchings with landscape scenes, for which Simone Fattal drew on her childhood memories of Syria, awaken associations of the fragility of human life. Her ceramic sculptures on the other hand – anthropomorphic figures, animals and architectural elements with calligraphy scratched into the surface – hover between the contemporary, the archaic and the mythological.
In this exhibition Fattal’s works appear with historical objects from South-West Asia and North Africa from the museum’s inventory in a dialogue about materiality, history and memory and convey an impression of timelessness.
The pop-up exhibition was created in cooperation with the Galerie Tanit.
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