HOSSEIN VALAMANESH | Institute of Islamic Culture, Paris.

The Open Letters season , from calligraphy to street art explores calligraphic dimensions in the current arts through an exhibition and numerous events: performing arts, screenings, conferences, debates, workshops for young audiences … Appearing in the seventh century, Arabic calligraphy fixed on paper the text of the Koran, previously transmitted orally. This sacred art meets a set of strict rules that contemporary artists do not hesitate to transgress. Their works are freed from the religious content, ancestral traditions, the very meaning of letters, and expose themselves even to the walls of cities.

The exhibition is a dialogue between the works of great masters and those of emerging artists who abandon pigments and the reed called calade to use ceramics, bronze, glass or video. The letter becomes the field of graphic, aesthetic and poetic experiments that sometimes reflect the limits of abstraction and question the notions of spirituality, authority and territory. An educational space on the history and fundamentals of Arabic calligraphy completes the visit, in partnership with the Dar El-Nimer Foundation located in Beirut. Throughout the season, monumental street art works will appear on the façades of the two ICI buildings. Finally, routes to the Louvre, the Jeu de Paume or the walls of the Goutte d’Or grafffe offer a number of perspectives on the works presented in the exhibition.

Programming honors words and gestures, between poetry and choreography: contemporary dance and hip-hop punctuated by luminous calligraphy paintings, tales, performances, concerts, lectures on the poets of the cultures of Islam, Writing of the three holy books and calligraphy in the Thousand and One Nights , movies on the graffiti in Paris and Cairo … without forgetting an exceptional performance in the framework
De Nuit Blanche enters dance, music and street art. Among the artistic and cultural activities of this new season, the ICI proposes an introduction to calligraphy for young and old, cinema-snacks, the making of books to eat and the realization of  Creative scores for young audiences.

With the works of Ammar Abo Bakr, Etel Adnan, Mustapha Akrim, Atlas, Fayçal Baghriche, Khaled Ben Slimane, Mounir Fatmi, Parastou Forouhar, Heather Hansen, Rachid Koraïchi, Nja Mahdaoui, Hassan Massoudy, Mari Minato, Bahman Panahi and Sara Ouhaddou, Hossein Valamanesh and Bernar Venet

Special projects by Tarek Benaoum (in co-production with Pier 36), Smail Kanouté and SIFAT and Bahia Shehab

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