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© Etel Adnan/Bildupphovsrätt 2020
Etel Adnan
Born 1925
United States, France, Born Lebanon Sans titre, 2014
Utan titel
Oil on canvas
Bildmått: 30 × 24 cm Ram: 33 × 27 × 4 cm
Purchase 2014
MOM/2014/146 This artwork is not on display
- About the work

Four paintings by Etel Adnan, abstract images of shapes that also appear to be landscapes whose defining elements are light and shadow, were shown in Madhat Kakeis abstrakta kabinett (Madhat Kakei’s Abstract Cabinet) at Moderna Museet in 2015-16. The exhibition emphasised that the abstract image is not a modernist invention, even though it took on new meanings through the work of the avant-garde in the early twentieth century. “The idea of the impossibility of depicting the sublime has considerably more ancient philosophical antecedents”, Daniel Birnbaum, the director of the museum, wrote in presenting the show. This is familiar ground to the artist, writer and professor of philosophy Etel Adnan, whose work was also shown as part of the museum’s exhibition Efter Babel (After Babel) in 2015. Politics, aesthetics and war are elements often present in her pieces, as is a critique of intolerance. ”The problem is arrogance, that everyone is supposed to be the same” she says in the catalogue to Efter Babel . “This need for similarity is a kind of death, when what we need is multiplicity”.


Finding your bearings from places and the points of the compass has been important in Etel Adnan’s life. She ascribes this to growing up in a Lebanon under French rule as the only child of a Greek Orthodox mother and a Muslim father from Damascus in Syria. She attended a French school in Beirut but felt unable to identify with either the poor or the French-speaking upper classes. Life in a minority of that kind involved a form of exile. This has developed into a need on her part always to be aware of exactly where she is.

- Signature, inscriptions, and markings
- Exhibition history
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