Photo by BEO DAO 攝影 北島

Photo by Bei Dao  攝影 北島


Ali Ahmad Said Esber, who goes by the pen name Adonis (born 1930, Syria), is one of the most influential poets, critics, and essayists in contemporary Arabic literature. A seminal figure in modern Arabic poetry, Adonis is known for merging classical traditions with new poetic modes. 

He also played a key role in the evolution of al-shi’r al-hadith (modern, or free verse) in the late 1940s, a movement in the theorisation and practice of modern Arabic poetry that marked a break from the restrictions of classical meter, forms, and themes in favour of experimentation. 

Adonis began to create works of visual art – often multi-layered, mixed media calligraphic pieces on paper – in the early 2000s. He scripts segments of classical poetry, and in some cases his own poetry which are layered with small fragments of parchment, cloth, or swatches of colour. 

Through this work he pays homage to pre-Islamic Arabian poets Zuhayr and Tarafa Ibn Al Abd, whose poems, the Mu’allaqaat (“Suspended Odes”) were said to have been hung in, or on, the Kaaba in pre-Islamic Mecca, and are considered the primary source for early Arabic poetry.


阿里·艾哈邁德·賽義德·伊斯比爾(Ali Ahmad Said Esber),筆名阿多尼斯(Adonis),是當代阿拉伯文學中最有影響力的詩人、評論家和散文家之一。阿多尼斯是現代阿拉伯詩歌的重要人物,以將古典傳統與新詩歌模式結合而聞名。





About The Paintings

In the same way that Adonis’s poetry is connected to classical Arabic poems and French surrealism and Islamic Sufism in an exciting revisited relation, some of his paintings are devoid of imagery and some are full of them.  At first glance, it would seem that a large number of those images and forms are threatened by calligraphy art which attempts at replacing image with a written script. If we look deeper into the subject, we notice that on the contrary, there exists a pleasant vital balance between images and calligraphy. They both embrace and ornament each other in a certain rhythm. (excerpt)

Adonis’s Muallaquat, Henrich Detering, Frankfurt Newspaper FAZ 

In Adonis’ work, writing is a drawing. His writing, beautiful and elaborate, is part of the collages. And the collages are part of this writing. The one serves the other. When I see these works, I feel strongly that Adonis manages to give us a very powerful emotion with a piece of wood, a piece of fabric, which he looks and uses for a collage. He is playing with writing, and what he does is so close to it: one writes with ink, not paint. Even in the image, he is writing. 

A, Adonis’ visual work, Azzedine Ala



亨利·德靈・法蘭克福報紙FAZ 《阿多尼斯的懸詩》

在阿多尼斯的作品中,寫作就是一幅畫。他的文字,優美,精緻,是拼貼畫的一部分。拼貼畫也是寫作的一部分。一個服侍另一個。當我看到這些作品的時候,我強烈的感覺到阿多尼斯用一塊木頭,一塊布料,來做拼貼,給我們帶來一種非常強烈的情感。他寫作就如同: 他是用文字來書。在畫中寫作。」