Farah Atassi

Farah Atassi

Exhibition from october 11th 2014 to january 4th 2015

Exhibition   Works   Publication   Biography


The floating syntheses of space-time in Farah Atassi's works describe autonomous worlds with a uniquely fascinating power. Initially influenced by the aesthetics of ruins, the artist began painting a series of deserted interiors from photos of Russian community housing and abandoned, derelict sites. Her work is conceptual, and remarkable in the way it restructures space: large volumes are often approached at an angle and oscillate between hyper-construction and dripping paint, scale is disconcertingly distorted, and the relationship between form and presence is rethought through a beautifully considered meditation on furniture.

The artist progressively focused her investigations on the celebration of modernist utopias in figurative compositions treated as scenic devices: out of this came the Workshop series, which multiplies references, citations and a mise en abyme of signs. While the nods in the direction of Léger, Malevich, Mondrian or Charles & Ray Eames confirm her preoccupation with geometry, they also translate her persistent will to bring together architecture and painting in a plan and elevation process already present in Malevich's Architectones.

In her most recent canvases, more complex and less narrative, she continues to consider space through an exploration of decorative motifs and architectural models. Her interest in the geometric motif (or the simple form) has led to a systematic use of the grid in the compositional process itself (Modern Toys II, Space for Objects), and then to a progressive opening up of the work to the question of ornamentation.

These new formal approaches are evident in the Tabou series, inspired by the aesthetic of Fritz Lang's Nibelungen and confronting modernism – the pure line of the Bauhaus – with folk ornament. The artist seems to want to orchestrate coherence out of contradiction: false symmetry, misleading mirror effects, a decentred vanishing point. Her recent canvases set up a presentation made up of fault lines, melding rigour and controlled accidents, a mental scene conceived for hybrid objects, dwarf factories, miniature apartment blocks or piles of toy houses.

In the lineage of artist precursors who introduced elements of applied arts, craft and folk art into modern art ( Auguste Herbin, Marsden Hartlay, but also Matisse, who she has much studied) Farah Atassi also deploys some surprising motifs inspired by the East. Reproduced in a systematic manner on the entire surface of the canvas, without a central point, these forms sculpt, fold and unfold spaces like mysterious theatres of objects, between abstraction and figuration, flatness and marked illusionistic perspective (Theatre Objects, Sculptures in Maze).

The exhibition presented by Le Grand Café will give particular prominence to these most recent investigations, offering a comprehensive journey through the artist's universe with a dozen canvases: a dozen cerebral micro-universes.

Farah Atassi is calling into question stories of modernity in painting, its formal stakes and its relationship to reality and to fiction; in so doing, she is taking part in current art debate, confronted with the challenge to interpretations posed since the West discovered the existence of other realities and other modernities. At a time of post-colonial approaches, the artist's activity nevertheless holds on to more formal and age-old concerns, with a particular treatment that rests on contrary associations: interiors and perspective, all-over and motif, cubism and ornament. A remarkable way of producing hybridity in the service of utopian spaces, with shades of the metaphysical.


Rec Room, 2012
oil on canvas
170 x 200 cm
collection Marie-Aline and Jean François Prat

Factories, 2013
oil on canvas
160 x 200 cm
Gnyp collection, Berlin

Tabou I, 2013
oil on canvas
210 x 170 cm
private collection

Tabou II, 2013
oil and glycero on canvas
198,5 x 160 cm
collection Frac Aquitaine, Bordeaux, France

Tabou III, 2013
oil and glycero on canvas
200 x 160 cm
private collection

Modern Toys II, 2013
oil and glycero on canvas
210 x 160 cm
private collection

Building the City, 2013
oil on canvas
198,7 x 160 cm
private collection

Space for Objects, 2013
oil and glycero on canvas
160 x 210 cm
collection Ensba

Sculptures in Maze, 2014
oil on canvas
95 x 130 cm
collection Art Factory

Blue Folding, 2014
oil on canvas
185 x 140 cm
collection VR d'AFFAUX, Paris

Ornamental Folding, 2014
oil and glycero on canvas
185 x 140 cm
courtesy galerie Xippas, Paris

Theatre Objects, 2014
oil and glycero on canvas
160 x 210 cm
private collection, Belgium
courtesy Michel Rein, Brussels


Farah Atassi

Edited by galerie Xippas, galerie Michel Rein, Bruxelles, Ecole municipale des beaux-arts/galerie Édouard Manet, Gennevilliers, le Portique espace d’art contemporain, Le Havre, Le Grand Café, centre d’art contemporain, Saint-Nazaire, le Musée régional d’art contemporain Languedoc-Roussillon, Sérignan with the support of Centre national des arts plastiques.
Written by B. Schwabsky et M.Lévy
144 pp., French, English
ISBN : 978-2-35864-063-3
Price : 28 euros


Born in 1981, Brussels, Belgium.
Lives and Works in Paris, France.


ENSB-A (Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts), Jean-Michel ALBEROLA Studio, Paris, France

School Of The Museum Of Fine Arts, Boston, USA. Part of the exchanging programme with the ENSB-A

Solo Shows

Galerie Xippas, Paris, France (September-October).

Farah Atassi & Stéphanie Cherpin, galerie Edouard Manet, Gennevilliers, France.

- Galerie Xippas, Paris, France.
- Farah Atassi & Elodie Lesourd, Les Eglises, centre d'art contemporain, Chelles, France.

Group Shows

Avec et sans peinture, new exhibition of the collection, Mac/Val, Vitry sur Seine

- After, with Leonor Antunes, Farah Atassi, David Diao, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Josiah McElheny, Bojan Šarcevic, Franck Scurti, Simon Starling et Lucy Williams. Curator : Marjolaine Lévy, Galerie JGM, Paris, France 
- Entre deux, Musée Régional d'Art Contemporain Languedoc-Roussillon, Sérignan, France 
- Farah Atassi, Latifa Echakhch, Claire Fontaine, Raphaël Zarka, artists nominated for the Marcel Duchamp Prize 2013, Musée des Beaux-arts de Libourne, France 
- Boîte-en-Valise, Institut Français

Fruits of Passion, Musée national d'art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France 

Grants & Residencies

Nominated for the Marcel Duchamp Prize
Residence at the Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP), New York, USA

Jean-François Prat Prize, France.

Aide individuelle à la création - DRAC Ile de France

En savoir plus ...

More informations about the artist :
Xippas gallery
Michel Rein gallery

Galeries :

vues d'expo