Press Release

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CRG Gallery is delighted to present Lebanese artist, Saloua Raouda Choucair (b. 1916), in her first gallery show in the United States. This exhibition will include a selection of gouaches, paintings, tapestries and sculptures spanning five decades of this celebrated centenarian artist.

Choucair’s work reflects her interest in science, architecture, mathe- matics and Arabic poetry. Now considered a pioneer of modernism in the Middle East and a stalwart contributor to the modern art dialogue of the latter half of the 20th century, she was able to combine elements or western abstraction with Islamic aesthetics. In 1951, when ques- tioned about Abstraction, Choucair responded: “When one has been liberated in his thinking, it won’t be very difficult for him to understand abstract art, or what is called ’l’art Abstrait’.”

In the 1940’s, after a visit to the “Cité radieuse” in Marseille, Le Corbusier profoundly fascinated the artist. She once said, had she lived another life, she would have been an architect. She dreamed
of being “part of the city as it grew” by creating works for the public space. Back home in Beirut, she began a lifelong experimentation with all kinds of material and forms, hoping that her pieces would one day become monumental public sculptures, civic fountains or buildings.

Choucair, who cherished science, used techniques that combined the arithmetical basis of Islamic art and architecture, based on a visual ratio achieved through mathematical divisions and the repetition of shapes. She was also inspired by Sufism and its main principles, such as infini- tude and duality, and applied it to her artistic concepts. She envisioned abstract forms made of infinite interactions, a direct reference to Arabic poetry in which every stanza can be independent of another and still make formal sense, while also being part of one entity.

This was the inspiration of her most distinctive sculptures that are made of interlocking units, such “Infinite Structure” (1974-2014), which can be taken apart into individual pieces, and which she interpreted in stone, aluminum and wood.

Born in 1916, Choucair left Lebanon for Paris in 1948, where she remained for nearly four years. While there, she studied with Fernand Leger and participated in the establishment of Atelier de l’Art Abstrait, led by Ed- gard Pillet and Jean Dewasne. In 1950, she was one of the first Arab artists to participate in the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles in Paris.

In 2013, the Tate Modern presented a retrospective of her work (mono- graph available). Her art pieces have been exhibited around the world and are included in the collections of the Tate Modern, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; The Guggenheim Museum, Abu Dhabi; and the Arab Museum of Modern Art, Qatar.

 

 

Upcoming Exhibition: Butt Johnson Quaint Abstractions, January 7 – February 21, 2016

For further information please contact Dina Bizri at 212 229 2766 or dina@crggallery.com

Selected Work

Quantum Leap, 1985-2011
white stone
51 1/8 x 27 1/2 x 6 11/16 in. (130 x 70 x 17 cm) SC9337

Infinite Module, 1974-2014
stone
33 13/16 x 10 3/16 x 10 3/16 in. (86 x 26 x 26 cm) SC9338

Infinite Structure, 1974-2014
stone
41 11/16 x 15 11/16 x 15 11/16 in. (106 x 40 x 40 cm) SC9339

Trajectory of a Line, 1957-1959 wood
28 1/2 x 13 1/2 x 7 1/2 in. (74 x 34 x 25 cm) SC9345

Moving Dual, 1983-85
wood
16 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 10 1/2 in. (20 x 12 x 7 cm) SC9344

Spiral Rhythm, 1985-1987
wood
14 9/16 x 9 13/16 x 4 5/16 in. (37 x 25 x 11 cm) SC9343

Secret of a Cube, 1960-1962 wood
5 x 6 x 4 3/4 in. (15 x 15 x 15 cm) SC9342

Movement of the Angle, 1983-1985 stone
70 1/2 x 9 x 9 in. (177 x 15 x 15 cm) SC9352

Rapture of Revelation, 1986-2011
bronze
39 5/16 x 15 11/16 x 7 13/16 in. (100 x 40 x 20 cm) SC9357

Rythmical Composition, 1961 Carpet, Persian Point
55 1/2 x 51 in. (141 x 130 cm) SC9351

Composition on Green Module, 1947-51 oil on canvas
22 1/2 x 26 3/4 in. (57.1 x 68 cm) SC9118

Composition with Pebbels, 1959
oil on panel
13 1/2 x 17 1/4 in. (34.3 x 43.8 cm) SC9119

Composition with Vertical, 1953 gouache
10 3/16 x 4 7/8 in. (26 x 12.5 cm) SC9333

Composition with a Circle, 1952 gouache
9 13/16 x 12 9/16 in. (25 x 32 cm) SC9334

Rythmical Composition with Blue, 1954 gouache
12 15/16 x 9 7/16 in. (33 x 24 cm) SC9335

Rythmical Composition with Pink, 1964 gouache
12 3/16 x 17 11/16 in. (31 x 45 cm) SC9336

Composition for Tapestry, 1952
gouache
4 11/16 x 12 in. (12 x 30.5 cm)
SC9346

Composition for Tapestry, 1956 gouache
7 13/16 x 19 1/4 in. (20 x 49 cm) SC9348

Installation Shots

Participating Artists:

Saloua Raouda Choucair