SIMONE FATTAL RECEIVES THE GROßER KUNSTPREIS BERLIN
On March 18, the prestigious Grand Art Prize will be awarded to the outstanding artist Simone Fattal at the Akademie der Künste on Pariser Platz in Berlin. The jury, consisting of well-known artists Wolfgang Tillmans, Monica Bonvicini and Karin Sander, based its decision on Fattal's impressive creative practice, which reflects the power of storytelling and the ability of creativity to stand up for humanity and community.
Simone Fattal, born in Damascus in 1942, has travelled an impressive path through the art world in recent decades. Together with her partner, the artist Etel Adnan, who died in 2021, she travelled between the metropolises of Beirut, Paris and San Francisco before settling in Paris. Fattal's works, including mostly figurative sculptures made of ceramic or clay as well as two-dimensional works such as watercolours, paintings and collages, span an arc between biblical stories, Greek legends and the Epic of Gilgamesh through to events in recent history.
Fattal began her artistic journey in Beirut, where she started painting in 1969 after studying philosophy at the École des Lettres and the Sorbonne in Paris. She quickly became an active member of the vibrant artistic scene in Beirut and collaborated with other artists, in particular the poet Etel Adnan. The Lebanese civil war forced the couple to flee to Northern California in 1980, where Fattal not only continued her artistic practice, but also founded the publishing house Post-Apollo Press.
Fattal's work reflects intensely on the social realities that have shaped her perception of the world. She refers to ancient myths of the Eastern Mediterranean and Mesopotamia, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh, and makes metaphorical associations between antiquity and modernity. The themes of her works range from the challenges of the Iraq war and the conflicts in Syria to the civil war in Lebanon, which forced her into exile in 1980.
Her artistic oeuvre spans sculpture, ceramics and painting, working with natural materials such as clay and stone. These timeless works bear witness to resilience and fragility, capturing the essence of her experiences and referencing humanity's collective struggles as well as ancient myths and archaeological finds. In her collages, Fattal combines memorabilia from her private archive with historical turning points in the Arab world, and through this connection she reflects on the fragility of an identity shaped by migration.
Hatje Cantz is pleased to provide a comprehensive insight into Simone Fattal's work through our forthcoming publication.
Image credits: Header: Simone Fattal in her Studio in Paris, June 2023 © Christophe Beauregard; Images in text: Simone Fattal, Ziqqurat, 2013, stoneware fired in a wood kiln, 50 × 70 × 46 cm. © Simone Fattal; Simone Fattal, Wozu Dichter in dürftiger Zeit? (What are poets for in these destitute times?), 2011, stoneware fired in a wood kiln, Ø 45 cm © Simone Fattal; Simone Fattal, Ishtar, 2004, glazed stoneware, 22 × 5.5 × 1.5 cm © Simone Fattal