Adonis & Haider
A dialogue between collage and drawing

December 2007 – February 2008

The collaborative project of Syrian poet and artist Adonis and Iraqi painter Haider initiates a dialogue that involves poetry, painting and collage, exposing the aesthetic relationship between poetic and visual text.

Adonis’s latest artistic compositions have been developed in tandem with his rich and continually renewed poetic production. His works emanate with visual planes bursting with original handwritten poetry that recalls classical Arabic literature from various eras and civilizations. The great masters of the Arabic language Al-Ma’arri, Abu Tammam, and Waddah al-Yaman, all of whom are linked by their rebellious spirit, their penchant for refusal, and their compulsion for change, are revived in Adonis's words.

His exploration of writing, however, is executed through calligraphic forms that are treated pictorially such that they are abstracted; his letters are turned into ambiguous signs that could belong to any of a number of languages. Whether these marks, these writings, are legible or incomprehensible, they elucidate Adonis’s desire to break free of the rules of language, to find his own sensory means of communication through fine art. Adonis’s collages that combine layers of relief set up a space in contradiction with the smoothness of the written text that fills them; the two complete each other, though, in spite of their contrary appearance.

As for the painter Haider, he handles material and color with sheer sensitivity, building expanses reminiscent of doors and windows that are often sealed shut and that are laden with diverse emblematic meanings, time and again referring to hopelessness and fear despite their radiant hues. The story of human life and of the history of humanity is hinged on these inaccessible openings. Through his works, Haider strives to conceive of a novel rapport between the geometric form of a painting and its intangible subject matter.

Darat al Funun, in cooperation with the French Cultural Centre of Amman, is hosting the debut exhibition of this joint project that will then tour the Arab World and Europe. Most of the works on display were made in 2007 but some were created in 2005 and 2006.