Monday, July 6, 2020

Etel Adnan, Leporellos, Galerie Lelong & Co., January 23 - March 7, 2020, Paris.


This book about the leporellos of Etel Adnan, a Lebanese-born (b. 1925) artist and writer, is a wonderful contribution to the minuscule literature on accordions and of artists' who work in this format. An opening essay by Adnan "The Unfolding of an Artists' Book," sets the scene of her first encounter with an artist working in this folding book form. She relates the story of her meeting in The Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco's North Beach, with a former sailor who had picked up a heroin habit as well as inkpot, brushes and scrolls, while in China. He would sit for long periods of time studying and drawing the people in the cafe in his folding (accordion) books. 

Adnan was struck by the format, especially when he gave her one he was working on, for her to finish. Since this time in the early 1960s, Adnan has continued to work with, and refine her use of this fascinating format.  As a former philosophy student and then professor, she also writes thoughtfully and eloquently about this format, as well as exploring all the ramifications of the very particular visual/literary dance that she sees taking place across the panorama of an accordion. 

The book also has really great illustrations of Adnan's works, and at the end there's a really interesting article (in French only) by Anne Moeglin-Delcroix "PLI SUR PLI: sur quelques leporellos d'artistes," which surveys important accordion books in addition to exploring different facets of the artists' accordion book. 







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