HASSAN HAJJAJ IN SEOUL: A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME.

By Nii B. Andrews.

The prestigious blue chip gallery, Barakat Contemporary, is holding the first ever solo exhibition for the Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj in Asia; the venue is Seoul.

Within the current matrix and extreme turbulence in world events, the exhibition is aptly named, A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME.

The totality of the presentation- the gallery space that has been transformed into an emphatic graphic mixture of striking visual contrasts thus tapping into the myriad senses required to interpret the sustained poetic eloquence of Hajjaj’s work, all converge to provide a positive, inclusive and optimistic outlook on the world we hope will come.

GHETTO GASTRO XL, 2018/1440: Hassan Hajjaj; lambda print with poplar sprayed white gloss frame; 180.4 x 135 x 11 cm; Ed. 1/3

The exhibition suceeds in providing a novel spatial and temporal experience and vision – one that alters, crosses, fuses and transcends fashion, design, art and yes, commerce.

And of course, it is also sometimes provocative as all good art should be; it unpacks and unpicks stereotypes, dogmas and received truths.

Hajjaj, who was born in Morocco but domiciled in the UK since his teenage years, uses photography as a tool to deconstruct the concepts of country and nationality.

BLAIZE, 2013/1434: Hassan Hajjaj, lambda print with poplar sprayed white gloss frame, 94 x 133.4 x 6.3 cm, A.P. 1/2

What he creates is a new world “one where boundaries of nations, borders, peoples, and cultures have been torn down, with subjects pursuing an endless affection and joy toward life”.

He is thus able to invite ALL of us to transcend our multifaceted identities and hybridity through art.

Emergent from this perspective is a real societal phenomenon- perhaps indeed a taste of things to come; a world in which we must care for each other if we are to avoid the tragic pitfalls of the past and ensure sustained progress and development.

The exhibition features diverse mediums; mostly photographs and also videos and installations.

HENNA ANGELS, 2010/1431: Hassan Hajjaj, lambda print with walnut frame,137.6 x 101.7 x D 6.3 cm, Ed. 3/7

Ordinary, proud, resilient, colorful, real African people – not models, are depicted in the photos which are framed with multilayered referential visual cues.

On the upper floor space of the exhibit, Hajjaj has once again installed an iconic boutique space with items designed by him and available for sale on site.

Here his astute sense of bricolage and transmutation is at work with items such as Moroccan lanterns made from recycled cans; there are also traditional barbouches with designer logos; even a Barbie doll in a caftan.

The exhibition will run until Sept. 27.

Hajjaj’s work has been collected by a number of leading institutions, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, Guggenheim Museum Abu Dhabi, Brooklyn Museum, and the British Museum.

Since it opened in 2016 in the center of Seoul, Barakat Contemporary has excelled as an exhibition space where visitors can appreciate and anticipate the contemporary art that must be taken note of worldwide today.

Exhibition view, Barakat Contemporary – The Taste of Things to Come.

The gallery supports the long-term growth of unique artists from various cultures, including Africa, America, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, and offers audiences an uncommon opportunity to explore the contemporary issues arising from the points of contact between each society and culture.

In-depth research and planning into the important topics in international society and contemporary art are prioritised and the focus is on artists who show a humanities-based perspective on the present era.

Fayez and Hwasum Barakat of the eponymous Barakat Gallery with NBA; Marrakech.

Barakat Contemporary is the only contemporary art branch of the Barakat Gallery, which features some 40,000 museum quality artifacts spanning various epochs and regions.

Barakat Gallery has led the way in exhibiting ancient art and spreading the culture of collecting in (its locations in) Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong, and Seoul.

Looking ahead, Barakat Contemporary will continue to combine the ancient and modern to create a new future for contemporary art.

Hassan Hajjaj.

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