Situated on the fringes of narration, Farah Atassi's paintings mix textile patterns and motley mosaics, referencing Modernism and Folk Art in equal measure. In the artist's own words what we are dealing with are "figurative paintings that depict abstraction".
With three unpublished essays and an interview, this publication is based on Farah Atassi's main exhibitions, held between 2015 and 2020 in institutions and art galleries: at the Consortium Museum, Xippas gallery, François Ghebaly gallery, Almine Rech gallery, and at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Cambrai where she had the opportunity to measure her work against paintings by modern and contemporary masters. These explorations are presented here in reverse chronological order, like an invitation to a brief travel back in time.
"The paintings are direct extension of what I have been experimenting with for the past two years. I have explored the classic subjects of paintings: still life; female nude; musical theme; and studio. I always start by defining a space with a roof, a horizon and a first step that sets the scene, or rather, a stage for my performance. Theater stages and sets, on which I then place figures or compositions, unfold with a grid formed by their vanishing lines. The next step is to "rhyme" the figures and the background [...] I'm looking for the right level of artificiality to allow sufficient freedom. I do figurative paintings with an abstract painter's language: the foundation of my work is geometric shapes. From a strictly formal point of view, I acknowledge Cubism as a source. I'm obviously not alone in admiring Picasso. His models, wives or mistresses, were also influenced by the desire he had for them. For my part, I try to paint models as objects without the libidinous aspect. I try to make the figures come true, but without the pathos. Matter, however, is vibrant: it embraces its own repentance, sometimes its thickened impasto. The painterly substance is what drives emotion."
Born 1981 in Brussels, Farah Atassi lives and works in Paris.