Latifa Echakhchb. 1974
Moroccan-born artist Latifa Echakhch creates mixed-media works and installations on themes of nationality, religion, and history. She uses simple gestures to reveal individual and cultural identities and personal and collective histories in works where ink is often dripped or manipulated onto linen or various unconventional materials.
Echakhch moved to France as a child and currently lives in Switzerland. She attended the Ecole superieure d’Art de Grenoble and graduated from the National School of Arts Cergy-Pontoise and the Lyon National School of Fine Arts
In 2007, she created an installation in London’s Tate Modern, “For Each Stencil a Revolution,” whose title refers to a quote of Yasser Arafat. This work was reprised in 2013 for Los Angeles’s Hammer Museum. In the 1960s, a stencil duplicator or mimeograph machine was such a powerful tool to disseminate revolutionary ideas that Arafat once said, “For each stencil a revolution,” which became the title of her work. For this installation she attached thousands of pieces of blue carbon paper, which were used decades ago to mimeograph and disseminate political ideas, onto the walls of the museum. She sprayed the carbon paper with a solution of alcohol, that caused the ink to run down the pages, pool onto the floor, and turn the walls and staircase into a beautiful, brilliant indigo blue.
A 2012 work, “Tambour 39,” featured black Indian ink on canvas. Here she dripped jet-black ink onto a tondo to create a deep abyss in the center of the canvas. While her use of a tondo recalls Renaissance art, her dripping of ink onto the canvas also references the techniques used in Abstract Expressionist paintings.
Zurich’s Galerie Eva Presenhuber in 2013 presented a stunning installation of ten artworks where viewers entered from backstage to see a landscape of ten artworks. Echakhch took thin white linen and dipped it in blue ink, which seeped up through the fabric. These six-foot tall artworks turned into ethereal landscapes as the artist manipulated the diffusion of the ink to create trees, ferns, bushes, forests, and skies.
Her 2016 “Screen Shot” consisted of folding screens, based on her height, arranged like a labyrinth and draped with clothes that were immersed in ink. Reminiscent of wet clothes with rivulets of color on the screens, they look as if they were lost or left behind while someone was on the run.
Echakhch was the winner of the 2013 Marcel Duchamp Prize given to an artist working in France. That year she had a solo exhibition at Centre Georges Pompidou. She has had her work shown in New York, Italy, Frankfurt, Lyon, Zurich, and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.