IAIA announces the first institutional survey of Lebanese artist Huguette Caland in New York City. Exhibition 2: Huguette Caland features four decades of her paintings, drawings, kaftans, and smocks, including a selection of never-before exhibited drawings and the first kaftan Cal
Exhibition 2: Huguette Caland Born into a cosmopolitan and political Beiruti family in 1931, Caland was the daughter of the first President of the independent Republic of Lebanon, but defied social expectations and moved to Paris in the 1970s to pursue a career as an artist. This exhibition explores the artist’s sustained engagement with lines over the course of her remarkable and diverse oeuvre. The artist’s interdisciplinary practice, which traverses art, design, and fashion, has historically been framed in terms of eroticism and the body. Exhibition 2 illuminates the often overlooked formal innovations of her work. In Paris, Caland met the fashion designer Pierre Cardin, who deeply admired her kaftans, and asked her to design a collection under his label. After producing a kaftan collection for Cardin, as well as scores of drawings and paintings, Caland moved to Los Angeles in 1987, where she lived and worked until recently relocating back to Beirut. In both fashion and painting, Caland has consistently engaged with the visibility of the female body, and is best known for her sustained investigation of how society politicizes female sexuality, often utilizing her own body as a subject. Exhibition 2 contends that the line is a key element of her practice, a formative tool that guides Caland’s explorations across media. Whether she subtly evokes eroticism, constructs abstract figures on her kaftans, minimally defines the faces in her works on paper, or cross-stitches obsessive grid-like patterns in her more recent works, lines feature prominently in Caland’s extensive and historic output. By tracing this visual development, which stretches from Caland’s earlier, more figurative works to her recent minimal abstractions, Exhibition 2 shares an untold story about Caland and her passion-driven, critical engagement with the formal politics of beauty and femininity.