‘Etchings’ by Assadour at Meem Gallery Dubai

The Meem Gallery presents an exhibition featuring fifteen etchings by Lebanese-Armenian artist Assadour, as part of the ongoing Arab Print VII series. The showcase pays tribute to Assadour’s exceptional career in printmaking and engraving, highlighting the artist’s ability to incorporate his heritage and tumultuous upbringing into captivating artworks. Through his seamless fusion of these elements, Assadour constructs a new and imaginary world that explores themes of identity, memory, loss, alienation, and the human experience.

Assadour, 2013, Signed and dated on verso Etching – Framed (Brown) Paper 65 x 50 cm, PA 12/50

Assadour Bezdikian, born in 1943 to an Armenian family in the suburbs of Bourj Hammoud, Beirut, was immersed in the culturally diverse environment of the Lebanese capital. His rebellious personality, coupled with exposure to various artistic influences, shaped his distinctive style. Lebanese art critic Joseph Tarrab describes Assadour’s art as one that seeks to unsettle and disconcert the viewer, placing them in unfamiliar territory.

At the age of 18, Assadour travelled to Italy to study engraving and painting at the Pietro Vanucci Academy in Perugia, under the guidance of the Lebanese artist Jean Khalifé. His time in Italy afforded him the opportunity to explore the works of renowned Italian Renaissance masters and solidify his skills as an engraver. Subsequently, Assadour won an art competition organised by the Lebanese Ministry of Culture, which granted him a scholarship to study at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Training under French artist Lucien Coutaud, Assadour’s approach to printmaking underwent a profound transformation in the artistic capital.

Installation view, Meem Gallery, Assadour, Etchings

Assadour’s artistic achievements during the 1970s, including his membership in esteemed French organisations and participation in competitions, brought him recognition and accolades. Through the interplay of symbolic imagery, fragmented landscapes, and layered textures, Assadour merges elements of realism and abstraction, blurring the line between the physical and metaphysical realms. His use of numbers, letters, lines, and shapes constructs a unique visual language that narrates his geometric world, centred on his obsession with time and its passage.

In the 1980s, Assadour embraced a more abstract and conceptual approach to his art, abandoning specific titles to invite broader interpretations and engage viewers in personal and introspective dialogues. Assadour expanded his artistic practice beyond traditional mediums, collaborating with renowned authors and poets, and his works were acquired and exhibited by prominent institutions in Europe and the Arab world.

Installation view, Meem Gallery, Assadour, Etchings

About Assadour

Assadour, originally from Beirut, began his artistic journey by working with Jean Khalife at the Italian Cultural Institute, which eventually led to a scholarship to study in Italy in 1961. He settled in Paris in 1964, attending the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts and specializing in engraving under Lucien Coutaud, where he developed his intricate style of etching.

Initially known for his etchings using the aquatint technique, Assadour later explored watercolour and oil paints, embracing larger canvases for greater artistic freedom. In 2016, a retrospective exhibition titled “Assadour: Landscape in Motion” was held at The Sursock Museum in Beirut, and he has recently had another career-spanning retrospective at the esteemed Osthaus Museum Hagen in Germany.

Assadour’s work is held in esteemed institutions and collections worldwide, including The British Museum and The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Bibliotheque Nationale and Fonds National D’Art Contemporain in Paris, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, Barjeel Art Foundation in Sharjah, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Art in Doha, Dalloul Art Foundation in Beirut, and the Sursock Museum in Beirut.

Location: The Meem Gallery Dubai

Date: 20 Juin –  9 September 2023



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