The Huguette Caland Retrospective, currently on show at the Beirut Exhibition Center, was one of my favorite exhibitions of all time. Not only is Huguette Caland one of my favorite artists, one that is an integral part of Lebanon’s art scene, but the organization and curatorship of the show was outstanding. Curated by Nadine Begdache and Brigitte Caland, the retrospective celebrates 50 years of Huguette’s fascinating career, and touches upon the various artistic periods within her life. The beauty of the show is in its structure, which is organized chronologically, allowing the viewers to slowly walk past Huguette Caland’s artistic development. The retrospective includes more than 200 of the artist’s works, and covers 3 important periods in Huguette’s career including: Kaslik 1964-1970, Paris 1970-1987, and California 1988-present.
California-based Huguette Caland, who was born in 1931, is one of Lebanon’s modern art masters, hailing from the generation of Shafic Abboud, Helen Khal, and Yvette Achkar. She has greatly shaped the Lebanese art scene over the years. Walking through the show one is able to analyze the changing styles and periods of the artist, all of which lead up to her current beautiful patchwork-like work. Each canvas is made up of tiny details- be it a house, a flower, a pattern. I found myself eyeing each one of her canvases for more than 10 minutes at a time, my eyes scanning and trying to deconstruct the beautiful colors and details in front of me. These canvases are often made up of Lebanese landscapes, as seen from above. One can see fields, houses, dots, faces, fingers, and eyes. All is present on these somewhat morphed landscapes.
The show is on until the 24th of February
Check out this video of Huguette Caland at home in Venice, California: