LONDON - The Tate has paid homage to several Middle Eastern artists, the latest among these being a longstanding Lebanese artist, Saloua Raouda Choucair, who is now in her nineties. Exhibition curator Jessica Morgan spoke to me briefly from California about the show, which opened this week at the Tate Modern:
Saloua Raouda Choucair, Self Portrait (1943). PHOTO: © SALOUA RAOUDA CHOUCAIR FOUNDATION. COURTESY OF THE TATE.
How did this exhibition come about? Subsequent to my encountering the work in Beirut in 2009, Tate has been acquiring key pieces of Choucair, given the evident significance of her practice and the importance of bringing her into an international dialogue.
What is your favourite work? It is difficult to say. Infinite Structure, a piece from the Tate collection and one of the few large scale works by Choucair, is an incredible statement with regard to the artist's interest in architecture, modular form, abstraction and the very many geometric concerns that characterize her work. It is in part homage to Constantin Brancusi’s Endless Column project.
Saloua Raouda Choucair, Infinite Structure (1963-1965). PHOTO: © SALOUA RAOUDA CHOUCAIR FOUNDATION. COURTESY OF THE TATE.
How has the artist influenced other Arab artists? As of yet, probably very little given that she was asked to present her work so infrequently: a travesty that is the result of many issues and circumstance. With this exhibition, I hope she will have a belated but significant influence.
If the show’s success is anything to go by, it will not be long before this important artist is better known and celebrated across the region.
Saloua Raouda Choucai
Bankside, London SE1 9TG
T: (44) 20 7887 8888
17 April - 20 October 2013