NEW YORK - The Armory Show 2015 - 4-8 March 2015 - FOCUS - Booth 630 - Claude Lemand Gallery.
SHAFIC ABBOUD + DIA AL-AZZAWI
1. Shafic Abboud (Lebanese, 1926-2004).
Historic masterpieces from European private collections.
Claude Lemand. ‘Shafic Abboud is one of the foremost Arab Artists of the 20th century. His paintings are a manifesto for freedom, colour and light, as well as being a permanent bridge between the art of Europe and the Middle East. He was very attached to Lebanon, to its landscapes, its light and his own childhood memories. He was from a Lebanese Arab Modern culture, strongly influenced by the stories of his grandmother, the paintings of the travelling story-tellers and by the Byzantine icons. The writings of the Arab Nahda were to later have a significant impact on his intellectual education. He played in Lebanon, before 1976 and after 1993, a major role for Beirut’s cultural and artistic life. (…). His mature works are ‘transfigurative’, because of Abboud’s search for a synthesis between his fairy-tale like childhood world and his technical mastering of abstract Parisian painting. He transfigured images filtered from his memory into painting, such as his series of Destroyed Cafés of 1990. (…).’ (Claude Lemand, Paris 2011)
Claude Lemand held 15 solo shows of works from different periods and aspects of his Art, wrote analysis on his personality, works and influence, published his Monograph in 2006, curated his Retrospective in 2011 in Paris at the Institut du Monde Arabe and published the Catalogue. In 2012, he initiated his Retrospective in the Beirut Exhibition Center.
2. Dia Al-Azzawi (Baghdad, born 1939).
Dia Al-Azzawi was a close young friend of Shafic Abboud, and his supporter during the 1980s and the 1990s. They met many times in Abboud’s studio in Paris, had group exhibitions in Paris, London and Beirut, and participated in solo and group exhibitions in Galerie Faris (1983-1991) and then in my gallery (since 1995).
Dia Al-Azzawi is one of my gallery’s Modern Arab major Artists since November 1994. I hold in my gallery and in French Museums, Institutions and Fairs solo and group exhibitions of his works. My gallery produced some of his original books, portfolios of prints and 4 sculptures in bronze, including the monumental Desert Flower, 2008, now in the Mathaf Doha collections.
My gallery was the first person to show in the West Dia Al-Azzawi’s Sabra and Shatila Massacres, 1982-83. It was in 2003 in Aix-en-Provence, an Homage to the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. This Polyptych is now in The Tate Modern collections.
In 2013, I showed in Paris Grand Palais his first historic masterpiece Al-Mu’allaqat (The Golden Odes, London, 1978) and his magnificent historical Triptych Bilad Al-Sawad, 1994-1995, illustrated with other works and commented in the Catalogue I published in 2013.
Dia Al-Azzawi. ‘ My work is part of the Renaissance of Arab Art trend, yet it is universal in its dimension and interlocked within contemporary history and culture.’
Claude Lemand. ‘ His important Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures, Books and Prints are inspired by the Nature, Culture and History of Iraq and the Arab World, in a positive and modern vision of Art and Life. Part of his oeuvre is tragic and shows Picasso’s influence in Azzawi’s works inspired by the slaughters and other violent events raging through the Middle East since decades, and the other part is witnessing the impact of Matisse in his more joyful and colourful works that depict the ‘joie de vivre’ in the Desert and in the Oriental Gardens of the Arab Civilisation in its opulent periods.’