Published by Silvana Editorale. Edited by Sam Bardaouil, Till Fellrath, Manuella Guiragossian.
Paul Guiragossian (1926–93) is one of the most influential artists to emerge from the Arab World in the 20th century. Born to Armenian parents, survivors of the Armenian Genocide, he experienced the consequences of exile, first as a child, and later as a young refugee from Jerusalem arriving in Beirut in the late 1940s. Guiragossian’s personal experience of displacement led him to craft a formal style and critical stance that were at the forefront of modernism’s search for a language that could aptly express the complexities of the human condition. From the monumental to the minute, the figurative to the abstract, Guiragossian’s work is equally marked by a constant negotiation of a wide range of art-historical styles as well as a profound rootedness within the complexity of his immediate cultural and sociopolitical context. This timely and comprehensive monograph addresses Guiragossian’s five-decade prolific career, shedding light on diverse aspects of the artist’s oeuvre—ranging from his paintings and drawings to his illustrations and theater designs. It consists of more than 600 color reproductions of artworks and archival documents, and a select anthology of scholarly articles and newspaper reviews translated for the first time into English from Arabic and French. Edited by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, and Manuella Guiragossian, it provides a new reading of Guiragossian, situating his work within the cultural heterogeneity of the cities in which he lived, studied and worked, and revealing his impact on both his peers and the generations that followed. Drawing on a sweeping range of primary documents from the Paul Guiragossian Foundation archives, and building on recent scholarship on Arab modernism, this monograph is the most extensive publication to date on the life and work of the artist.