Huguette El Khoury Caland
About her work
One of the most significant female artists in the Arab world of the 20th century, Caland has been a versatile painter, draftswoman, sculptor and conceptual artist, leaving an active legacy and a body of work that connects her native city of Beirut and the ornamental patterns of the East to the disciplined formalism of abstraction and minimalism acquired in Europe. Early on, the artist was immediatly drawn to the imaginary of women and their forms, therefore her work was at the time an explosive exploration of sexuality and voluptuousness; clearly ahead of her own time. While living in Paris and California, the artist became immersed in the avant-gardes of the 20th century, bringing back home an idiosyncratic style, firmly anchored in the reductionist process, but never altogether abandoning a narrative quality, seamlessly interwoven with the lyricism and humor of a skilled story-teller. Moving from rigid symmetrical lines on paper towards dense oil painting and vice versa, Huguette Caland achieves syntactic equilibrium between surface and subject matter, filling space to the brim of implosion, yet never exiting the aesthetic view. The space is here distorted, but never immanent or intangible.
Born in Beirut in 1931, Huguette Caland took her first painting lessons at 16 with Manetti, an Italian artist living in Lebanon. After the death of her father, Beshara el Khoury, one of the founders of the Lebanese independence and its first president, Caland decided to pursue her dream to become an artist.