Hassan Massoudy

One of the region’s most prominent artists, Hassan Massoudy is internationally recognised for a distinctive practice that draws on words and phrases from proverbs, poets, and philosophers throughout the centuries, and translates these historically rich texts into vibrant, modern works.

Best known for his works on paper, Massoudy highlights individual letters and words in saturated colours, stretched across the paper to the effect of accentuating pure form, movement, and a tactile depth of surface. Often incorporating text depicted on a smaller scale and framing the central letter, Massoudy draws our attention to sculptural dimensionality and aesthetic wonderment of both the form of the letter and the process of tracing it onto paper. As letters appear to transform into both overwhelming architectural form and figures dancing on the paper, Massoudy integrates his training in both calligraphy and figural representations.

Born in Najaf, Massoudy moved to Baghdad in 1961, where he learned classical calligraphy as an apprentice. In 1969, the artist left to Paris where he studied figurative drawing at École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts and graduated in 1975. For the next thirteen years, Massoudy toured Europe with a theatrical performance that combined music, poetry, and live calligraphies projected onto a screen. His works are held in private collections and museums throughout the world. Hassan Massoudy lives and works in Paris.