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Etel Adnan

Impossible Homecoming

April 6 - August 8, 2021

Impossible Homecoming was a retrospective exhibition of artist and poet Etel Adnan, whose life spanned nearly a century.

The daughter of a Smyrian Greek mother and a Damascene Ottoman officer, the artist was born in Beirut in 1925 to a multilingual, multi-faith, and multi-cultural family and region, and her works reflect the traces of this rich identity. Etel Adnan was never indifferent to the wars and political-social upheavals that beset her life, which found their way into the works she created, be they written or painted, or at times both.

Etel Adnan’s interpretation of the physical world surrounding her is natural – her unique abstract landscapes and the works that deal with subjects such as mountains, color, writing, memory, and time are the results of the fragile and dynamic relationship she has forged with the world.

Curated by Serhan Ada and Simone Fattal, the exhibition included ceramics, carpets, leporellos, oil paintings, drawings, prints, and a film by the artist who “has mastered more than one medium.” Visitors could also listen to recorded interviews made with the artist at various points in her life.

The artist began painting in the US while teaching art philosophy and aesthetics; her early work includes simple abstract compositions and abstract carpets she designed with the inspiration she found in Eastern carpets. In her leporellos, she combined drawings, poetry, and prose, demonstrating the parallels between her interest in and practice of literature on the one hand and her visual expression on the other.

The artist is productive in many different media; the wonderful forms in her works and the simplicity of her artistic expression cross linguistic, cultural, and geographical borders to communicate with the audience.

Etel Adnan opens up a deep space of discovery and interpretation for the audience with her seasons, landscapes, signs, imaginary planets and satellites in the sky, and impressive energy.

3D Virtual Tour

Exhibition Catalogue

Etel Adnan

Etel Adnan

The publication accompanying the exhibition includes the writings of the curators Serhan Ada and Simone Fattal, as well as a short text written by the artist Etel Adnan for the exhibition and an article titled About the End of the Ottoman Empire.

Etel  Adnan: Her Life, Her Work, Her Cities <br> Simone Fattal, Jean Frémon, Lamia Joreige and Serhan Ada

Etel Adnan: Her Life, Her Work, Her Cities
Simone Fattal, Jean Frémon, Lamia Joreige and Serhan Ada

Pera Museum organizes a series of online talks as part of “Impossible Homecoming”, a retrospective exhibition of artist and poet Etel Adnan, whose life spanned nearly a century. In the first event, those who are closest to her will talk about Etel Adnan’s life, work and cities. 

Etel Adnan: Writing for Music <br> Gavin Bryars, Serhan Ada

Etel Adnan: Writing for Music
Gavin Bryars, Serhan Ada

Pera Museum organizes a series of online talks as part of “Impossible Homecoming”, a retrospective exhibition of artist and poet Etel Adnan, whose life spanned nearly a century. In the second event of the series, Gavin Bryars and Serhan Ada will have an online conversation about Adnan's relationship with literature and music.  

Our Real Home Is Our Life

Pera Film presents Our Real Home is Our Life, the online film program within the scope of the exhibition, Impossible Homecoming, that was opened in April at Pera Museum.


Pera Learning

Pastoral Dreams

From April 13 to July 30, 2021, Pera Museum Learning Programs organizes Pastoral Dreams in parallel with the exhibition Etel Adnan: Impossible Homecoming. The program offers different age groups a series of engaging and colorful workshops and tours.

Online Summer Workshops

With inspiration from “A Question of Taste” and “Etel Adnan: Impossible Homecoming” exhibitions, Pera Museum Learning Programs hosts art and science workshops, inquiry-based philosophy workshops, and online exhibition tours with material kits to be posted to the addresses of 7-12 aged participants. 

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Pera Museum presented a talk on Nicola Lorini’s video installation For All the Time, for All the Sad Stones, bringing together the artists Nicola Lorini, Gülşah Mursaloğlu and Ambiguous Standards Institute to focus on concepts like measuring, calculation, standardisation, time and change.

Portrait of Martín Zapater (1797)

Portrait of Martín Zapater (1797)

Martín Zapater y Clavería, born in Zaragoza on November 12th 1747, came from a family of modest merchants and was taken in to live with a well-to-do aunt, Juana Faguás, and her daughter, Joaquina de Alduy. He studied with Goya in the Escuelas Pías school in Zaragoza from 1752 to 1757 and a friendship arose between them which was to last until the death of Zapater in 1803. 

Chlebowski’s Sultan

Chlebowski’s Sultan

This is one of Stanisław Chlebowski’s larger canvasses dealing with themes other than battles; only Ottoman Life at the Sweet Waters now at the Istanbul Military Museum can compare with it in size.