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Founded in 1979, October Gallery, in central London, exhibits innovative, contemporary art from around the world. For over 35 years, October Gallery has pioneered the development of the Transvangarde - the trans-cultural avant-garde.
  • Hassan Massoudy. photo © Jonathan Greet 2012
  • Hassan Massoudy. photo © Jonathan Greet 2012


Hassan Massoudy

Hassan Massoudy is an artist for whom the word itself remains the most sublime creative force.  His creations are a subtle mix of present and past, oriental and occidental, tradition and modernity.  The words and phrases, which are the inspiration for his calligraphy, are drawn from proverbs, poets and philosophers throughout the centuries, ranging from St. Augustine, Virgil and Ibn’-al-Arabi to Baudelaire and Rousseau.

Hassan Massoudy was born in 1944 in Najef, southern Iraq in a traditional Iraqi society.  He moved to Baghdad in 1961, where he learnt the various classical styles of calligraphy, studied graphic design and fine arts.   His desire to study art, coupled with the political events in Iraq at the time, saw him leave for Paris in 1969 where he enrolled at the École des Beaux- Arts. Massoudy was not only influenced by the great Arabic masters but also the artists Leger, Matisse, Soulages and Picasso.  After receiving his degree in 1975 he returned to calligraphy in a more enriched way, employing classical styles in a newer and freer manner. From 1972 he toured Europe for thirteen years with his Arabesque performance combining music, poetry and calligraphy.

Peace and tolerance are central themes of his work leading him to work with Amnesty International, UNICEF and other related organisations.
Massoudy’s work was exhibited and used as the primary promotional image for the British Museum’s 2006 exhibition, Word Into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle East.

"The gestures of the calligrapher become an open space, welcoming the words of the poet and the imagination of the onlooker".
Hassan Massoudy

Hassan Massoudy, Water-based pigments on paper
"Le parfait voyageur ne sait pas où il va"
Lao Tseu
Hassan Massoudy, Water-based pigments on paper
"Ô ami ne va pas au jardin des fleurs, le jardin des fleurs est en toi"

'You fled to the desert on the wings of the heart; the desert is lost in the realm of your heart.'

"If life is like a big dream, why bother living in torment?"
Li Bai (701 - 762)

Celui qui accorde..."

"Il n’y a pas dans mes pensées nulle détresse car le temps blesse et guérit"

"La beauté sauvera le monde"

"Le temps n’est que flux et reflux, la vie que douceur et amertume"

"Where is there a musician to interpret the emotions of my heart?" Orfi 16th Century.

"La terre n’appartient pas à l’homme; c’est l’homme qui appartient à la terre"

"I wish to be a butterfly flitting around the candle of your beauty." Persian Proverb
Hassan Massoudy, Water-based pigments on paper
"Je crois en la religion de l’amour où que se dirigent ses caravanes, car l’amour est ma religion et ma foi"

"Le développement ce ne m’est pas avoir d’avantage mais être d’avantage."

'Beauty will save the world.'

'Instead of damning the darkness, it is better to light a little candle.'

'He who doesn’t progress each day regresses each day.'

"The best of speech is concise and precise." Arab proverb

"Tu t’es enfui au désert avec les ailes du coeur, ce désert est perdu dans l’étendue de ton
coeur" Rumi.

"Better than pearls and coral is the gesture of one man towards another man." Ibn Al-Habbab

"Ô ami, ne va pas au jardin des fleurs. Le jardin des fleurs est en toi." Kabir XVI.

"Sur terre il y a place pour tous"

"Towards another land, a country where only light reigns."
Rumi 13th Century.

"Méfiez-vous des rêves de jeunesse, ils finissent toujours par se réaliser"

"Ce que vous donnez vous le gardez, ce que vous gardez vous le perdez"

Hassan Massoudy, Water-based pigments on paper
"Le Coeur est un guide pour sitot qu'ils se ne trouvent"

"Au lieu de fulminer contre les ténèbres il vaut mieux allumer une petite lanterne"

"Mon coeur a des yeux qui pour toi seul ont des regards et tout entier il est entre tes main"

"Meme si le bonheur t'oublie un peu, ne l'oublie jamais tout a fait."

"Je me suis abreuvé d’amour, verre après verre, sans que s’épuise cette boisson, sans que je sois désaltéré."

Hassan Massoudy Biography

Born in Najef, Iraq, 1944; lives and works in Paris, France

Selected Solo Shows
2012 Gestures of Light, Abu Dhabi Festival, Ghaf Gallery and Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, UAE
2011 Musée du Château des Rohan, Saverne, France
2010 Logis Royal, Château de Loches, Loches, France
  Musée Batha, Fez, Morocco
2009 Arabesque Festival, John F. Kennedy Center, Washington, USA
2008 Scriptorial d’Avranches, Musée des Manuscrits du Mont Saint Michel, Avranches, France
2007 Modern Arabic Calligraphy, October Gallery, London, UK
Chapelle du Seminaire, Moissac, France
  Centre d’Art Contemporain, Abbaye de Trisay,
Trisay, France
2005 Musée Château Saint-Jean, Nogent-le-Rotrou, France
2004 Maison des Mémoires, Carcassonne, France
2002 Hunar Gallery, Dubai, UAE
  Galerie Atelier Gustave, Paris, France
  Médiathèque, Saint-Denis de la Réunion, La Réunion, France
2001 Artothèque de Cherbourg-Octeville, Cherbourg, France
2000 Galerie Tammouz, Brussels, Belgium
1999 Fondation Asselah, Algiers, Algeria
  Festival de Musique Sacrée, Musée Batha, Fez, Morocco
  Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Oran, Algeria
1998 Comptoir des Ecritures, Paris, France
1996 La Médiatine, Brussels, Belgium
1995 Arabian Collections Gallery, Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia
1993 Musée Barrois, Bar-le-Duc, France
  Maison de la Culture, Bourges, France
  Palais des Congrès, Grasse, France
1991 Theater de Balie, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  Galerie l’Art à la Page, Paris, France
1990 Palais de l’UNESCO, Paris, France
  ARIAP Galerie des Beaux-Arts, Lille, France
1989 Salle Al Amane, Casablanca, Morocco
  A.R. Galerie Art Contemporain, Brest, France
1988 Soeterijntheater, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
1987 Centre Culturel Français, Constantine, Algeria
  Galerie de Lappe, Paris, France
1986 Museumgouda (formerly: Stedelijke Musea), Gouda,
the Netherlands
  Westfries Museum, Hoorn, the Netherlands
  Galerie Al Iwan, Kuwait
1984 Orient Galerie, Paris, France
  Musée Régional, Sarreguemines, France
1982 Maison des Arts et de la Culture, Créteil, France
1981 Musée des Beaux-Arts, Pau, France
  Centre Culturel, Tamanrasset, Algeria
Selected Group Shows
2011 Abu Dhabi Art (2011), October Gallery, Abu Dhabi, UAE
  Miragens, Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo, Brazil
  Dance of Letters 2, Haleh Gallery, Berg am Stamberger See, Germany
  Written Images: Contemporary Calligraphy from the Middle East, Sundaram Tagore Gallery, New York, USA
  Art Dubai (2008-2011), October Gallery, Dubai, UAE
2010 Calligraphes Irakiens à Paris, Centre Culturel Français, Baghdad, Iraq
  Caligrafia Árabe Moderna, Casa Árabe, Madrid, Spain
2008 Hunar Gallery, Dubai, UAE
  Word into Art, a British Museum touring exhibition,
  The Atrium, DIFC, Dubai, UAE
2007/8 “Espejismos”, Contemporary Art from the Middle East and North Africa, Museo San Pedro de Arte, Puebla, Mexico
2006 Word into Art, British Museum, London, UK
  Text Messages, Five Contemporary Artists and the Art of
the Word, October Gallery, London, UK
2004 Geschriebene Welten, Museum für Angewandte Kunst,
Frankfurt, Germany
2001 Museum of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE
1986 Signe et Calligraphies, Musée des Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie, Paris, France
Public Collections

British Museum, London, UK
Wereldmuseum, (formerly: Museum voor Land - en Volkenkunde), Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Museumgouda (formerly: Stedelijke Musea), Gouda, the Netherlands
Westfries Museum, Hoorn, the Netherlands
Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, Jordan
Museum of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE
Airport of Riyadh, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan
Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore
Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, France
Cabinet des Estampes, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, France
Mémorial de Caen, Caen, France
Musée Balzac, Chateau de Saché, Saché, France
Demeure de Ronsard, Prieuré de Sainte-Cosme, La Riche, France
Musée Rabelais, Maison de la Devinière, Seuilly, France
Artothèque de Vitre, Vitre, France
Artothèque d’Angoulême, Angoulême, France
Artothèque de Cherbourg-Octeville, Cherbourg, France
CAF de Roubaix-Tourcoing, Roubaix-Tourcoing, France
Médiathèque, Saint-Denis de la Réunion, La Réunion, France
Médiathèque, Mauriac, France
Conseil Général du Cantal, Aurillac, France
La Ville de Saint-Apollinaire, Saint-Apollinaire, France
La Ville de Rezé, Rezé, France
La Ville de Saint-Avertin, Saint-Avertin, France
La Ville de Dieppe, Dieppe, France
La Ville de Creil, Creil, France
La Ville de Colombes, Colombes, France
La Ville d’Avranches, Avranches, France

October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AL Tel: + 44 (0)20 7242 7367