Dirimart is pleased to announce Fahrelnissa Zeid’s solo exhibition. The exhibition brings together works compiled from private collections, some of which were displayed at the retrospective exhibitions held at Tate Modern and Deutsche Bank KunstHalle in 2017. The exhibition organized in cooperation with the collectors in Turkey and artist’s estate, who is represented by the gallery in national and international platforms, exemplifies her oil paintings from different periods of her career spanning over more than forty years. Concurrently with the exhibition, Turkish
translation of her biography titled Fahrelnissa Zeid: Painter of Inner Worlds, written by Adila Laïdi-Hanieh, is published by RES Publications.
The exhibition includes works between 1940–80: figurative compositions from her early period, reminiscent of miniature paintings; geometrical and lyrical abstractionist works from her maturity period; portraits focusing on psychological narration from her late period.
Having lived in different cities including London, Paris, and Amman, Fahrelnissa Zeid’s artistic practice reflects influences of these cities and their art worlds. Interiors from her Istanbul period (1929–46) are transformed into complex paintings. Reflecting the coexistence of elements from Eastern and Western civilizations, these paintings not only give insight into the environment she lived in, but also give hints of her steps towards her abstract compositions, which made her voice heard in the following years. Turkish Bath (1943) from this period, referring to French orientalists, especially Ingres, reinterprets patterns of Western painting, with the use of nude figures having an objectified look seeming unaware of the artist’s glance, and depicted as groups gathered in a blue oasis.
During the period she lived in London and Paris (1946–75), which she refers as the years when she established her artistic self-confidence and developed an identity as a modern artist, Zeid joined the abstract art discussions among her contemporaries thanks to exhibitions she opened in these two cities and New York. She was included among prestigious artists of Salon de Nouvelles Realités flourished in post-war Paris, which is also an indication of how actively she pariticipated in the discussions. Her distinctive painting style shaped by the influences of Byzantine, Islamic, and Western European culture has a multi-layered characteristic that cannot be defined with only one artistic style and explained with linear temporality.
Zeid’s statement on her self-portrait titled Someone From the Past (1980) explains this artistic attitude well: she states that the hand is Persian, the dress is Byzantine, the face is Cretan, and the eyes are Oriental, all emerged by themselves as she was painting, indicating the fact that she carries the legacy of these four civilizations. Even though she moved away from figurative painting towards the abstract, this attitude does not exactly mean she excluded humanistic and natural elements. The large-scaled kaleidoscopic work titled Break of the Atom and Vegetal Life (1962) to be
seen at the exhibition is an indicator of her approach.
After the death of Emir Zeid, in 1975, the artist moves to Amman. She gives free lectures to woman artists at the institute she founded, paints, and opens exhibitions in Jordan and European cities for the rest of her life.
As in her life, Fahrelnissa Zeid’s works are being exhibited at international museums and institutions since her decease.