Farah Atassi

Farah Atassi

11.11.17 22.12.17

Xippas Geneva Past

Exhibition from November 11th to December 22nd, 2017

Opening on Saturday an Sunday November 11th and 12th from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Rue des Sablons 6 and rue des Bains 61, 1205 Geneva.

The Galerie Xippas is delighted to present an exhibition by the Franco-Belgian painter Farah Atassi. Born in Brussels in 1981, Farah Atassi is one of the most noted artists of her generation. Nominated in 2013 for the Marcel Duchamp Prize, she has since then entered very important collections. At the occasion of her second exhibition in Geneva, she will present a brand new series of canvases.

Farah Atassi develops a figurative painting using the vocabulary of abstract painting. His paintings are based on a common device where the geometric pattern induces spaces in which figures and objects evolve. On a background of systematized motifs, forms of the 20th-century European avant-gardes unfold.

« I highly appreciate the direct and efficient painting style of the artists of the avant-garde, the economy of means that governs all of their compositions. I am often inspired by their synthetic vocabulary, by these simplified forms that vacillate between sign and figure, as in the works of Malevich, Léger or Herbin. Similarly, when I paint geometric elements, I want there to be a figurative dimension to my painting. Indeed, the modernist references often have this role in my compositions: they allow me to create a type of figurative painting, but one that contains abstractions »[1], says the artist. Her artworks are as many quotes to history of architecture, as to design and painting. Thus evolve, in the same pictorial space, references as various as the ones to Art Deco and modernist design. According to Marjolaine Levy, while « the modernism and ornament » are « two historical opponents for Farah Atassi, the crime is not the ornament, but the obligation to choose between these two paradigms. In her paintings, the modernist grid unfolds in a place, to become spatial, to then moult in a purely ornamental pattern »[2].

In Geneva, Farah Atassi presents six brand new canvases from two different families. The first series, initiated in 2012, shows paintings, which are articulated around the duo background-figure or background-objet. The pattern painted all-over creates a space in which sometimes moves a figure, in Player and Woman in a Rocking Chair, and sometimes are displayed in a still-life manner a family of objects, for instance here, in Still Life with Keyboards and Circus, musical instruments.

The second series reveals the artist new pictorial researches. Objects and figures are more and more abstract, they metamorphose into ornament, almost merge with the background. « My backgrounds have more and more the tendency to go back to the surface of the canvas. Their function is now less to suggest tri-dimensional spaces intended to be inhabited by such or such figure than to deploy abstract composition supports »[3], says the artist. This new series entitled Psychedelic setting draws on different aesthetics ranging from animated images of Oskar Fischinger to the New Age of the 70s: bright colours and curved lines.

Two series yet, in each canvas, we find the perspective lines distorted by the saturated ornaments. A banner at the bottom repeats exactly the composition of the top of the canvas. Thread stretched between all his compositions, the painting quotes itself, even, as a shortcut, announce its resumption, like a tapestry that would run to infinity.

Farah Atassi was born in 1981 in Brussels, she lives and works in Paris. Having graduated from the National School of Fine Arts in Paris (ENSBA) in 2005, Atassi burst onto the scene within the framework of the Dynasty exhibition at the Paris Museum of Modern Art and at the Palais de Tokyo. Her work was also shown at the Pompidou Centre in the State Hermitage exhibition in 2010, which was curated by Bernard Blistène, at the Museum of Contemporary and Modern Art of Strasbourg in 2016 and at the Museum of Art, Architecture & Technology of Lisbon in 2017. Laureate of the Jean-François Prat Prize in 2012, she was nominated in 2013 for the Marcel Duchamp Prize before attending an artist-in-residency program at the New York International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP). In 2014, Le Grand Café, The Art Contemporary Center of the city of Saint-Nazaire in France and Le Portique, The Art Contemporary Center of the city of Le Havre have both organized a solo exhibition of her work as well as the Extra City Kunsthal of Antwerp in Belgium in 2015. In 2018, The Museum of Fine Arts of Cambrai (France) will also dedicate her a personal exhibition. Among others, her work has been acquired by the following collections: the Pompidou Centre, the National Contemporary Art Fund of France, the Louis Vuitton Foundation – LVMH, the Marciano Collection in Los Angeles and the Museum of Modern Art, Paris.

[1] Interview by Alain Berland with Farah Atassi, Mouvement.net, November 2017.

[2] Marjolaine Lévy, « Les modernologues », 2017, MAMCO, Distribution : Les presses du réel

[3] Interview by Alain Berland with Farah Atassi, Mouvement.net, November 2017.

Exhibition views

News and events

Related exhibitions

Join our mailing list for updates about our artists, exhibitions, events, and more.


Please leave your contact information and we will get back to you about your selection as soon as possible.


Please leave your contact information and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Schedule a visit

Please leave your contact information and preferred date & time, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

    SubjectEnquiry about my wishlist (2 items)