Simone Fattal lives and works in Paris, FR

 

Simone Fattal studied philosophy at the École des Lettres in Beirut and the Sorbonne in Paris before returning to Beirut in 1969, where she rented an atelier and began to paint. She became an active member of Beirut’s vibrant intellectual and artistic scene, exhibiting her work at different galleries and collaborating with other artists—most notably, the poet Etel Adnan, who became her lifelong companion. The Lebanese Civil War (1975–90) compelled Fattal and Adnan to relocate to northern California in 1980, where Fattal continued her artistic practice and founded the Post-Apollo Press.

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Simone Fattal, In Our Lands of Drought the Rain Forever Is Made of Bullets, 2006, 24 lava stones, overall dimensions 200 × 300 cm, each 50 × 50 cm, courtesy Collection Sharjah Art Foundation © Simone Fattal, photo: © Collection Sharjah Art Foundation

Fattal’s practice draws upon references from the ancient myths of the Eastern Mediterranean and Mesopotamia, such as The Epic of Gilgamesh. The work is also profoundly engaged with the realities of the societies that formed the artist, as they continue to shape her perceptions of the world. Through a thread of metaphorical associations between antiquity and modernity, the collective unconscious of a far-flung past and the unfolding present, Fattal collapses the teleology of a civilizational temporality, shattering the tenets of a Eurocentric modernity.

For the 12th Berlin Biennale, Fattal presents In Our Lands of Drought the Rain Forever Is Made of Bullets (2006), a series of basalt tiles inscribed in Arabic with the massacres of Palestinians since the 1948 Nakba. Quoting Adnan’s poem “Jebu,” the work is affectively charged with the experience of enduring and witnessing war—its horrors, massacres, violence, famines, and forced flights.

Rasha Salti

Exhibitions

59th Venice Biennale: The Milk of Dreams, 2022, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice (IT)

Toucher terre, l’Art de la sculpture céramique, 2022, Fondation Villa Datris, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue (FR)

Finding a Way, 2021, Whitechapel Gallery, London (UK) (solo)

A breeze over the Mediterranean, 2021, Fondazione ICA Milano, Milan (IT) (solo)

Les Flammes. L’âge de la céramique, 2021, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris (FR)

Simone Fattal, 2020, Galerie Hubert Winter, Vienna (AT) (solo)