This January, New York city’s Institute of Arab and Islamic Art presents artist Huguette Caland’s first institutional survey. This retrospective entitled Exhibition 2 highlights four decades of her paintings, drawings, caftans, smocks as well as never before seen works.

Born in Beirut in 1931 Caland’s eventful life stems from a highly political family background. She started painting at the age of 16 under the tutelage of Italian artist Fernando Manetti. Her artistic vocation takes her to Paris in the 1970’s where she explores her ability to engage in different disciplines such as fashion design. Her signature line work transcends the paper and pen. The collection of caftans Caland produced under Pierre Cardin’s brand, delineating her unique minimalist vision integral in her life’s work, hangs prominently in the space. This rather haunting installation of suspended garments and the framed pieces along the walls compliment each other quite perfectly.

One can observe the artists gracious evolution from depictions of erotically charged figures to her later abstract pieces which still seem to hold an aesthetic inclination towards the intimate. Caland often used herself as subject to bring forth topics which she deemed worthy of observation such as the way female sexuality is gauged in society. The exhibition sees her transformation from her 17 years in Paris to her move to Venice California in 1987, back to Beirut in 2013. Delightful and unsettling, her work hints at a well of forbidden gems one is only permitted to access through ones own imagination.

On View until March 18th, 2018