Etel Adnan and the Modernists at Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean provides an overview of Adnan’s visual work from the early 1960s to the present day, with the work and ideas of some of the key protagonists within modern art. First and foremost is Paul Klee, who she once described as ‘the first painter I fell in love with’. Writing on his work in 2012, Adnan described an obsession with his work: ‘By obsessed, I mean that his paintings put me in a state of ecstasy. They possessed me. In Kairouan [in Tunisia], he wrote, “Colour and I are one.” And I understood that he was speaking of revelation.’
The selection includes a number of important works by Klee in addition to paintings by Wassily Kandinsky, Nicolas de Staël, Georges Mathie, Eugénie Paultre, two tapestries designed at the art centre created by the architect Ramses Wissa Wassef and works by sculptor Simone Fattal. These conversations highlight some of the key themes in Adnan’s work, such as writing, gesture and weaving – this last offering a metaphor for life itself. The film Ismyrne (2016) by the artists Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige gives contextual insight to Adnan’s life and work via an intimate portrait.