Sara Ouhaddou : Look what they’ve done

Galerie Polaris, Paris, France
11 Mar 2017 - 18 Apr 2017

Sara Ouhaddou : Look what they’ve done

Sara Ouhadou, « Owen – Unowen » #5, 2016, Courtesy of the gallery

Galerie Polaris presents ‘Look what they’ve done’, a new exhibition by Moroccan artist Sara Ouhaddou.

Sara Ouhaddou’s forces us to look beyond a regular artist’s studio approach. She brings her tools to remote High Atlas Moroccan villages where she meets with those she calls her «outsiders». They are weavers whose work isn’t intended for tourists (there are none in these villages), but for a daily use. Taking advantage of an occasional collaboration, Ouhaddou asks them to create embroideries opposite of their traditional know how.
Sara Ouhaddou resorts to materials and techniques different from those usually used in traditional workshops.
She salvages rubber strips gathered on markets located on the road to Targa. She reconstructs them until brown bare threads remain, as if they had been bleached. In doing so she obtains the illusion of a painted background on which simple patterns are embroidered, that suggest molecular, mineral, astral shapes… like a geological vocabulary.
Light and shadow bring to life the superposition hence achieved.

Sara Ouhaddou exploits these materials’ properties, making them durable and malleable, impregnated with significations. The result obtained transforms the pictural surface into an object close to sculpture. This work remind us of Robert Morris’ Wall Hangings or Antoni Tapiés’ torn fabrics.
The use of this “arts and crafts” vocabulary helps Sara Ouhaddou to free herself from all kind of frame and opens up beautifully to new shapes. The imperfections of the material are highlighted by the embroideries.

The second part of the exhibition presents two sets of 7 woven posters that tell the craftsmen resentment regarding the transformation of their city: Tangiers. (The title of the exhibition is a statement of one of the craftsmen).
The colour white symbolizes the city, red is the mountain and blue is the sea. On the first poster, the city is represented as a small white strip, as we go along the following posters, the sea and the mountain move back, the city becomes bigger, the galloping town planning drives the nature away from Tangiers inhabitants’ visual field. These series, through a simple design, emphasize Tangier’s people disappointment.

Under Sara Ouhaddou’s influence, the object becomes less familiar. She takes it out of its context by giving it an autonomous life, a mysterious presence, referring to a primitive artistic language.

Sara Ouhaddou, born in 1986, lives and works in Marrakech, is actually in residence in USA with Culturunners for her new project Out Among The Stars which takes as its subject the 5 and 8 pointed star; a symbol imbued with strong spiritual and cultural significance, and ubiquitous in both Moroccan and North American culture, most notably as the central motif of both country’s iconic national flags.

The opening will take place in the presence of the artist on Saturday March 11 from 5 to 8 pm