Douglas Abdell

Douglas Abdell (Boston, MA, USA, 1947)
Lives and works in Málaga, Spain


Born in Boston to an Italian mother and Lebanese father, Douglas Abdell is a sculptor who also produces paintings, drawings, engravings, and tapestries dominated by writing and graphic signs. His work explores the deep bond between words, images, sound, and form in intimate and political subjectivity. The artist believes that this link has been particularly close and significant in the ancient languages, now extinct, once spoken in his family’s countries of origin: Phoenician and Etruscan.


Abdell’s metal and bronze sculptures from the 1970s are not far removed from contemporary research into minimalism, always maintaining a link with the graphic sign. With the “Kryads” and “Aekyads”, his sculptures are the materialization in space of a sound or phoneme that propagates into the third dimension.

In 1984 he published the Intervalist Manifesto, in which letters, numbers, and asemic writing are interwoven, forming geometric and esoteric compositions. In these, Abdell conveys his unified conception of things, his tendency to link elements—a number like a letter, one language with another—because nothing exists except in relation to otherness. His sculptures, engravings, tapestry, manifest a singular combination of signs, codes and imaginary alphabet inspired not only by Phoenician but also Etruscan and more esoteric systems.

Abdell moved to Spain in 1992, seeking to strengthen his roots in Mediterranean traditions and references, which he continues to translate and reinvent to this day in his work—notably by crossing the ancient imaginary of the Punic Wars with that of current political conflicts and ongoing migratory crises.