The works by French-Moroccan artist Latifa Echakhch (born 1974 in El Khnansa, Morocco) are forever revolving around questions of cultural identity and how it is depicted. In this, she particularly engages with the ways culturally specific signs, such as national symbols in today’s globalised society, work and how we deal with them.
In her installations, videos, sculptural objects, interventions, and happenings, which refer to particular locations, the artist often engages with stereotypes and linguistic codes as well as social mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion. Latifa Echakhch integrates everyday objects and materials, works on them, shifting them into a different context and transferring them from one culture into another. These objects, Moroccan tea glasses, sugar, worthless carbon paper, for instance, but also legal or political documents, are highly important in the way Echakhch’s practices her art. They frequently open up a dimension of social politics by making the observer aware of our treatment of (art) history, focusing on the West, with globalisation, political events, with our handling of national symbols as well as the different aesthetic concepts between the cultures.
The solo exhibition at the Bielefelder Kunstverein entitled »Partitas« - a reference to the suite as a form of musical composition - focuses on an approach within Latifa Echakhch’s œuvre, where she engages with the development of the ornament and of abstraction in different contexts. Here, the artist for the first time goes more deeply into an interest which has already been a motif in numerous of her works. Four groups of works were created for this exhibition and concentrate less on topics of social politics but rather more on an engagement with lines and geometric forms. In this, it is not only the art-historic or creative dimensions that are relevant, but also the ideological and narrative potential inherent in ornament and abstraction. Her spatial installations, objects and paintings appear minimal and, making use of various media and materials, they seek to emphasise cultural common ground as well as cultural differences.
Since 2005, Latifa Echakhch has participated in several significant group exhibitions and Biennials. Most recently, her works were shown in the context of »Manifesta 7«, Trento and South Tyrol (2008), »Shifting Identities«, Kunsthaus Zürich (2008), »Global Feminisms«, Brooklyn Museum, New York (2007) and at the »3. Tirana Biennale« (2005). The most recent solo exhibitions were mounted in Paris (»Pendant que les champs brûlent«, Galerie Kamel Mennour), London (»Speakers’ Corner«, Tate Modern, Level 2 Gallery, 2008) and Grenoble (»Il m’a fallu tant de chemins pour parvenir jusqu’à toi«, Le Magasin, 2007).
Almost concurrently with the exhibition in the Bielefelder Kunstverein, Latifa Echakhch will realise a project for the Kunsthalle Fridericianum (August 29 - November 15, 2009) in Kassel. Her first monograph will appear in 2010 as a cooperative project with further art institutions.