ICA Miami is proud to present “Huguette Caland: Outside the Line (1970–84),” the first solo exhibition of the works of Lebanese artist Huguette Caland in an American museum. A provocative figure in abstract art, Caland (1931–2019) has only recently been recognized for her figurative and abstract paintings that render the body in subtle lines and bursts of color that are simultaneously intimate, erotic, and bold. This exhibition brings together paintings from the artist’s series “Bribes de corps” (Body Parts, 1973–76) and associated works, reflecting her preoccupation with the body and formal experimentation in drawing and abstract painting. Caland often used her own body as a point of departure; these works focus on the body as craft and caricature, expressing its subtle forms through humor, sexual expression, and formal invention.
Born in Beirut to the first president of an independent Lebanon, Caland grew up in a cosmopolitan and political environment. Until the Lebanese Civil War in 1975, Beirut’s art scene was one of great freedom and experimentation. An active participant in this milieu, Caland created drawings, paintings, and kaftans that built the foundation for her investigation of the female form. In 1970, Caland moved to Paris to pursue her art practice; it was there that she deepened the expressive and erotic power of line and color in her work, creating the “Bribes de corps” series, which center the body and its erotic expressions. Emphasizing the body through close-ups that, at times, render it unrecognizable, Caland’s works are simultaneously minimalistic and daringly referential.
While her earlier works explored the relationship between figuration and abstraction, “Bribes de corps” established Caland as a key figure in the broader discourse of Abstract Expressionism and Color Field painting. The works also take on an autobiographical undercurrent. Transforming the body’s curves and orifices into abstractions that double as landscapes or nonhuman shapes, Caland subverted idealized portrayals of the female form and challenged viewers’ interpretive methods. This series reflects Caland’s deep investment in the visibility and celebration of the female form, while also expressing keen awareness of the ways in which the body is subjected to political and violent forces.
Caland’s works can be found in collections around to world, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; British Museum, London; Tate, United Kingdom; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; San Diego Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris; Fonds national d’art contemporain, Paris; Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; Sharjah Art Foundation; and the Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation, Beirut.
“Huguette Caland: Outside the Line (1970–84)” is organized by ICA Miami and curated by Donna Honarpisheh, Associate Curator.
Additional support is provided by the State of Florida through the Division of Arts and Culture and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Exhibitions at ICA Miami are funded by the Knight Foundation.