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Biography

Classically trained calligrapher Hassan Massoudy inscribes oversized letters in vibrant colors on paper or canvas to create visually compelling works that bring traditional Arabic script into a contemporary context. Massoudy sources words from Eastern and Western authors, poets and philosophers. He selects a passage, which he writes at the bottom of the canvas or sheet of paper, then extracts a single word, enlarging it to monumental proportions over the surface of the canvas or paper.

 

In accordance with tradition, Massoudy makes his own tools and inks, but breaks from the Arabic custom of using only black ink by incorporating a bold palette of blues, greens, yellows and reds. Although executed with the utmost control, his letters are gestural, fluid and charged with energy, as he skillfully transforms the written word into a pictorial element.

 

Massoudy studied classical calligraphy in Baghdad. He moved to France in 1969, continuing his education at L’École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

 

He has shown his work at The Kennedy Center, Washington, D. C.; the British Museum, London; Musée d’Avranches, France; Centre d’Art Contemporain, Abbaye de Trizay and the Palais des Congrès de Grasse, France. His work is in the collections of The British Museum, London; Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore; and Musée du Quai Branly, Paris. He has also shown at Sharjah Biennale 11, 2013 and in 2015, two of his works were included in Frontiers Reimagined, a collateral event of the 56th Venice Biennale.

 

Born in Najaf, Iraq, 1944 | Lives and works in Paris

The Art of Paper
NY | Chelsea
The Art of Paper
November 15, 2018 – February 9, 2019
Hassan Massoudy
NY | Madison Avenue
Hassan Massoudy
Words, Breath, Gesture March 2 – 25, 2017
Hassan Massoudy
NY | CHELSEA
Hassan Massoudy
Words, Breath, Gesture February 23 – March 25, 2017
Hassan Massoudy
Publication
Hassan Massoudy
NY | Chelsea
Opening Reception with the Artist
NY | Chelsea
Hassan Massoudy Words, Breath, Gesture February 23, 2017, 6–8 pm
Blouin ArtInfo
Press
Blouin ArtInfo
Hassan Massoudy Solo at Sundaram Tagore, New York February 2017

The artist grew up in Iraq, surrounded by Arabic calligraphy inscribed on the walls of libraries, mosques and religious schools. The experience reflects in his works that encompass oversized letters in rich colors combining traditional Arabic scripts with contemporary subject matters.

The New York Times
Press
The New York Times
An Iraqi-Born Artist Who Speaks Through Arcs of Calligraphy February 2017

The Iraqi-born artist Hassan Massoudy, who is based in Paris, draws on his classical training in calligraphy to create vibrantly colored oversized letters evocative of traditional Arabic script. 

Asia House
Press
Asia House
Love understands all languages: An interview with Hassan Massoudy February 2017

Literature Programme Manager Hande Eagle interviews Massoudy to find out about his practices, his new book and his views on love, life and art.

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