Meet Fahrelnissa Zeid's art 👸🏽 🎨 👩🏽🎨
Honestly, we weren't sure what to expect when we first thought about the Fahrelnissa Zeid exhibition at Tate Modern.
We went there with a specific scheme of geometric patterns in mind typical of abstract art combined with Byzantine,
Islamic influences and the feminist avant-garde.
We found the story of a woman who was born into an elite Ottoman family in Istanbul in the early twentieth century who rejected the classic social etiquette and became one of the first modern female painters in Turkey. In her paintings, we felt the controversy of her story and the sufferance of the tragedies that marked her family on several occasions, as well as the desire to escape through those artworks by experimenting with something new each time through her evolution as an artist.
During her life, she was celebrated in multiple exhibitions in Paris, New York and London, including at the ICA in 1954. Outside Turkey, however, her name is still not that renowned.
Going through the exhibition we have perceived the maturation of a woman that was painting and studying art as a secondary passion, to one that completely committed herself to art, ending with her as a conscious artist.
Undoubtedly the break happened in the beginning of her forties when she began to embrace the principles of Abstractism and affirmed herself as an artist.
Fight Against Abstraction (1947), is a representation of her transition from figurative art to a more intimate style, the traditional Arabic brilliant colours and the bold black lines of the mosaic make it clash with European influences to leave space for an iconic result.
Through Abstractism, she defined her approach to life and her way to match images to her experiences.
“ I didn't expect to become an abstract painter… but flying by plane transformed me… the world upside down, a whole city could be held in your hand: the world is seen from the above”.
You won't be surprised in finding yourself contemplating My Hell (1951) for a good half an hour, being hidden by the monumental size of the painting, with all the interconnected and complex shades (which seem to resemble waves) and the contrast of the predominant black with a very well defined yellow and red.
The painting has the tension that exists between order and chaos. Getting closer to it we felt surrounded by all those labyrinthine shades that at a first glance may appear unpredictable while looking at the painting from a distance we could experienced it as a whole.
We ended this Sunday feeling empowered by Fahrelnissa’s story and personality.
With this retrospective, the Tate made another strike showing visitors something unexpected and contemporary. When different styles and influences don’t crash, you can be rather impressed with how they can combine and enrich each other.
For more go visit The Tate Modern
📝Post by Luisa Ferri