Pace Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of Moroccan-born, Swiss-based artist, Latifa Echakhch. This exhibition coincides with her representation of Switzerland at the 59th Venice Biennale, underscoring this landmark moment in her career.
Marking her first exhibition with the gallery since joining Pace's roster, Latifa Echakhch: Night Time will present a suite of new paintings across the ground floor galleries of 5 Hanover Square.
Informed by the ways in which everyday objects and imagery can be transfigured into signifiers of identity, history, and mythology, Latifa Echakhch's practice takes the form of painting, installation, sculpture, and sound. Describing her work as 'a question of power and postures', Echakhch states she has 'no other goals but questioning the world around me'. Throughout her career, Echakhch has constructed a visual vocabulary of signs, systems, and references that are rooted in her impulse to convey the experience of a feeling, to transcend that which is easily defined and arrive at the intangible.
Latifa Echakhch: Night Time is connected to The Concert, her presentation at the Swiss pavilion in Venice, where she will employ abstract conditions of light, form, and sound theory to provoke an experience akin to 'leaving a concert', in which a visitor's "heartbeat [is] transformed, more calm, more intense". The new body of work at Pace in London is the artist's most figurative to date, bringing the presence of the body into her distinctive visual lexicon. Enlisting ideas of theatricality and performativity, this exhibition transforms the galleries into an immersive environment in which Echakhch controls the viewing conditions of her work, inviting visitors into her world.
The paintings in Latifa Echakhch: Night Time begin with photographs taken by a friend of Echakhch, the photographer Sim Ouch. Characterised by high exposure and enigmatic compositions in which bodies and limbs are entangled or twisted, the images capture the nightlife of their community of friends in Lausanne, Switzerland. Echakhch employs a naive fresco method of painting to transpose these images onto canvas, which she treats with a mix of concrete and vinyl glue. Once set, Echakhch cuts into the dense material, a violent and labor-intensive process that leaves cracks and voids in the composition, revealing fragmented bodies in motion below. The striations in the concrete speak at once to geography of maps and the mountainous landscape that surrounds her studio in Switzerland, as well as the histories of formalism and abstraction.
The physicality of both the material and the artist's process of making gives the artworks a bodily, quasi-sculptural quality that imbues them with ideas of temporality. By presenting the paintings in a darkened room, Echakhch controls the viewer's access to the work, extending the atmosphere of the nightlife images into the viewer's space. In so doing, the viewer becomes both participant and spectator, at once part of the mass of bodies and separate to the spectral figures that move mysteriously beneath the paintings' rocky surface.
Press release courtesy Pace Gallery.