Latifa Echakhch - New Now London Tuesday, April 12, 2016 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Kamel Mennour, Paris

  • Catalogue Essay

    Latifa Echakch, born in Morocco, but raised in France, is known to dissociate symbols important to these two countries from the nexus in which they have meaning. This dissociation has a threefold purpose: to reveal their political and cultural weight, to make them strange to us again, and finally to reduce them to meaningless forms; objects that are abstracted from any sense-conferring context. For example, in Untitled (Gunpowder) 2008, she made a black border by throwing gunpowder tea at a wall, emphasising that a necessary condition for the commodification of Morocco by its colonisers was rampant violence. In the relevant space, however, the material then looks strange; soot-like, faecal, alien. Finally, the material is reduced for the viewer to its formal properties alone.

    Likewise In Tambour 124’. Ink is dripped onto a tondo – a Renaissance or Greek circular painting that’s traditionally mounted in the middle of the ceiling and typically represents heaven – in a deliberately drawn out, extended process. Drop by drop, the Indian ink forms a deep black circle in the centre of the canvas, and an abyss is evoked in an ironic and destructive subversion of the tondo’s conventional signification. Chief among the suggestions is that, far from engendering heaven, the Western values motivating the manufacture of the tondo contributed to a political abyss for the colonised Moroccan people; their culture was systematically subordinated, marginalised and commodified by the French.

    Tambour 124’ is indicative of Echakch’s conscious move away from 'order, structure and hierarchy', to the multiply-realisable but unerring depiction of chaos. For her, this is not just an aesthetic but also a political movement; France’s historical narratives were driven by the former organising-principles, and as a consequence, they should be done away with.


Tambour 124'

black Indian ink on canvas
diameter: 173 cm (68 1/8 in.)
Signed, titled and dated 'Latifa Echakhch "Tambour 124" 2012' on the stretcher.

£40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for £56,250

Contact Specialist
Tamila Kerimova
Head of Sale
+44 207 318 4065

New Now

London Auction 13 April 2016