Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hassan Hajjaj: Spring-Summer collection 2018, a photographic series

Hassan Hajjaj's photographic world draws its power and vitality from his personal history. A child of the 1960s, he grew up in Morocco and went on to discover London and its dazzling art scene. Former music promoter and music video producer, Hajjaj also designed a line of fashion accessories and opened RAP, a  ready-to-wear boutique that became a fashion hub in in the 1980s. He drew on all this experience to create installations and decors full of his fascination with the flamboyant, organized chaos of Arab souks.

Hassan Hajjaj's photographic series whose meticulous mises en scene betray an admiration for Samuel Fosso, Malik Sidibe and David La Chapelle. In these images from Marrakech, he plays on the sophisticated codes of fashion circles and music videos. He succeeded in turning young, heavily veiled and jellaba-clad women into magazine icons and hip-hop stars. The photographs, looking at first glance like Orientalist fantasies, use humor and derision to exploit the ambiguities and contradictions implied by the veil and traditional dress. Kitschy and highly colored, subversive and outlandish, Hassan Hajjaj's images put crucial questions about the way East and West see each other, and about cultural exchange between them.

Hassan Hajjaj has taken part in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Morocco, London and the Middle East. In 2009, he was one of the eight finalists in the Victoria & Albert Museum's Jameel Prize for Islamic art. He divides his time between London and Marrakech.

Spring-Summer collection 2018
© Hassan Hajjaj

Courtesy Hassan Hajjaj / Mouna Mekouar
Spring-Summer collection 2018 series is currently on view at Musee du Quai Branly, Paris
September 13 - November 11, 2011

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