Tuesday 5 August 2014, 6pm
Moroccan-born master portraitist Hassan Hajjaj in conversation with Anthony Downey, Contemporary Art Programme Director of Sotheby’s Institute of Art
On 5 August, Hassan Hajjaj will present several aspects of his multidisciplinary practice. Employing portraiture, installation, performance, fashion and interior design, Hajjaj’s practice engages with a number of ideas, including the role of portraiture in contemporary art and the visual vocabulary of contemporary fashion photography and pop art.
Born in Larache in 1961, Hajjaj left Morocco for London at an early age. Heavily influence by the club, hip-hop, and reggae scenes of London, Hajjaj is a self-taught and thoroughly versatile artist whose interpretations of North African culture, high and low branding, and the effects of global capitalism, offer a refreshing take on modern identities and cross-cultural networks of identification.
Turning to photography in the late 80s, Hajjaj is a master portraitist, taking studio portraits of friends, musicians, and artists, as well as strangers from the streets of Marrakech, often wearing clothes designed by the artist. These colourful and engaging portraits combine the visual vocabulary of contemporary fashion photography and pop art, as well as the studio photography of African artist Malick Sidibe, in an intelligent commentary on the influences of tradition in the interpretations of high and low branding and the effects of global capitalism
Sold in 2011 at Sothebys London
In 2009, Hajjaj was shortlisted for the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Jameel Prize for Islamic Art. His solo exhibitions have been held at The Third Line, Dubai; Rose Issa Projects, London; Freies Museum, Berlin, as well as group exhibitions such as The Marrakesh Art Biennale; Edge of Arabia, London; Photoqua, Paris; and Re-orientations at Rose Issa Projects, among others. His work is in the collections of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Farjam Collection, Dubai; Institut des Cultures d’Islam, Paris; Kamel Lazaar Foundation, Tunisia; Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, VA, and more. The artist lives and works between London, UK and Marrakech, Morocco.