press release

La ronda is the second show in a new series of exhibitions specifically produced for the Capella MACBA; the series began with #01 Armando Andrade Tudela. ahir, demà and that exhibition, along with the subsequent shows in the series, is accompanied by an electronic publication available

On this occasion, the Moroccan-born French artist Latifa Echakhch (1974) has produced a 3-piece installation – Fantasia (2010), Eivissa (2010) and Gaya (E102) 5, Vitrail (2010) – that makes use of easily recognisable, everyday objects with a symbolic dimension to formulate a reflection on the meaning of our society's cultural codes and the stereotypes behind them.

Fantasia (2010) consists of fourteen flagpoles distributed at different angles throughout the gallery space. The title makes reference to the 'Moroccan fantasy', a traditional Moroccan festive and sports display in which a group of men ride horses and shoot their weapons simultaneously such that all the shots make a single sound. It also alludes to the typical image of the plazas of Strasbourg, the seat of international organisations in front of which a battery of colourful flags are usually on display. Bared of their flags and strategically distributed to suggest different perspectives and volumetric rhythms, the flagpoles in this Fantasia are an invitation to contemplate the reversible and relative nature of national symbols and of the identities they represent, thus appealing to the idea of the multicultural. In addition to this important referential quality, the work's formal dimension is striking.

Latifa Echakhch often makes use of the spaces in which she is invited to exhibit, finding clues to guide the production of a work specifically related to the site. In Eivissa (2010), for instance, the Spanish playing cards used both in Spain and Morocco are seen from under pieces of the concrete platforms built in Eivissa during the Spanish Civil War to weigh down the tents of the Moroccans soldiers General Franco enlisted in his rebel army. The proximity of the elements, spaces and transaction rituals of two countries and cultures formulates a series of dialectics between play and dogma, the shared and the imposed, as well as between that which is understood to be fluid and transitory and that which declares itself definitive, though equally subject to decline.

In order to modulate the natural light in the Capella, in the work Gaya (E102) 5, Vitrail (2010) the artist has painted the apse windows with bright yellow food colouring of the sort used in Middle Eastern cooking as a cheap substitute for saffron (hence the work's title). This piece emphasises both the intellectual and sensual nature of Echakhch's installations.

Fundamental to this artist's contentious strategies are these sorts of slippages of meanings, shifts from the conventions of semantics to those of identity and back again, with all their attendant contradiction and paradox. Similarly crucial are the physical displacements of certain marks of identity into contexts or supports where they acquire one or more new meanings or reveal unexpected characteristics that clash with their original meaning (and where they suggest the Surrealist 'found object' in all its riveting subversion). On the basis of Conceptual art, Echakhch makes use of any language and technique available: installation, video, sculptural objects, simple materials from everyday life and happenings.

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02 Latifa Echakhch

La ronda
Kurator: Bartomeu Mari