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15 Nov 2011

Sale of contemporary Arab, Turkish and Iranian photography at CMOOA's

Youssef Nabil, Ehsan and light, Cairo (1993)

On November 19, 2011 at 4.00 pm


November 19, 2011 at 4.00pm: sale of contemporary Arab, Turkish and Iranian photography at CMOOA's sales room, 6, avenue des Tilleuls (ex Boulogne), Quartier de l'Hippodrome, Casablanca
Public exhibitions from Tuesday, November 1, to Friday, November 18, from 9.00am to 12.30pm and from 2.30pm to 7.00pm
Auctioneer: Françoise Caste-Deburaux, Paris.
The catalog of the sale is available online:

Alexandre Aublanc
+ 212 (0) 6 03 07 63 66
+ 212 (0) 5 22 39 85 54

6, avenue des Tilleuls (ex Boulogne)
Quartier de l'Hippodrome
20 330 Casablanca

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CASABLANCA - On Saturday, November 19, 2011, the Moroccan Company of Art Works and Items will present for the first time in Morocco a unique set of contemporary photographs made by Arab, Turkish and Iranian artists.

Consisting of about 70 photographs, the sale includes major works made by renowned artists in contemporary art including Shirin Neshat, Reza Aramesh, Youssef Nabil, Moataz Nasr, Shadi Ghadirian, Mohamed El Baz and Alex & Felix.

Iranian artists

Among the most noticeable lots, the sale includes a set of photographs by figures of the Iranian scene. With Summer 53 #4 (2008), Shirin Neshat takes us back to 1953, the year when everything changed in Iran following Mohammad Mossadegh's overthrow. The event is reenacted here in the form of a demonstration shot in Casablanca in 2008, as a metaphor for the takeover.

The artist is also present with Revolutionary Man (2008), a portrait of Munis taken from Munis and Faezeh. Third part of the series Women Without Men, this video shot by Shirin Neshat in Morocco depicts characters engaged in the tragic history of Iran.

Tragic as well, Action 46 (2008) and Action 72 (2009), two photographs by Reza Aramesh taken from the remarkable series Action. Palestinians sitting blindfolded on the ground, Koreans arrested because of their political beliefs… Each of his photographs reproduces, in the form of living paintings, images of war and arrests collected in the press. Reenacted within museums, these scenes take place without uniforms or arms. Nothing but the mechanics of submission remains visible.

The series Today's Life and War (2008) by Gohar Dashti tells the period after the Islamic Revolution that inherited the consequences of war and an amputated memory. Through this violence that reaches every aspect of daily life, the photographs depict the life of a couple in a battlefield, here hanging out washing on barbed wire, there watching television or having a rest in front of a bunker.

It is also the war that Shadi Ghadirian questions in her work. With Nil Nil 3 (2008), she brings weapons and military equipment into the domestic sphere, like this threatening cartridge housed into a pack of cigarettes. Through these surreal intrusions into the private space, the artist addresses the issues of Iranian society by thwarting, ironically, the constraints imposed by the regime.

Unprecedented in Morocco, three photographs by Bahman Jalali, taken from the series Image of Imagination (2002-2003), are also offered for sale. Founder of the first photography museum in Iran, this artist works with assembled images, reenacting a poetic world filled with women, kings and eunuchs.

Arab artists

The presentation of a significant lot of photographs by Arab artists, among them, Eshan and Light, Cairo (1993), an emblematic work by Youssef Nabil, is another highlight of the sale. Made in black and white before being hand colored, it depicts a sublime bejeweled actress who stares at the viewer, with her arms indolently wrapped around a projector. Presented as a symbol of Egypt, Ehsan is a sensual woman whose light shines for eternity.

Another Egyptian, Moataz Nasr stages with Insecure (2006), faces from the Middle East reflected in the water, portraits of people, but also of a society where a discourse on human insecurity, on the instability of our existence and on the inability to recognize us, is developing.

Continuing his work on illusion, Bahraini Faisal Samra shows in the triptych Performance # 50 (2008) the lies of time and history. Faces are guessed in bits and pieces, hidden under veils or bandages, prisoners of a movement that blurs the features, distorts the contours and disintegrates the identity. By revealing the distortions of reality, following the footsteps of Francis Bacon, the artist develops a logic of resistance where the image is nothing but illusion.

Disorder and identity are also at work in the work of Iraqi Halim Al Karim. His triptych produced in 2002 depicts pallid and blurred faces, with scotch taped mouths and clear and penetrating eyes. Colored, scanned and painted, the work is constructed in successive layers as a metaphor for time and for the deciphering of the wounded, exiled and dehumanized memory.

The sale also presents a significant lot of photographs by established Moroccan artists and young talents whom the CMOOA is committed to encourage. Following the example of Richard Avedon and Robert Frank, who X-rayed America, the series The Moroccans (2011) by Leila Alaoui can be considered as an investigative work on the popular Morocco and its cultural, ethnic, social and economic diversity.

The inventor of a cosmopolitan pop art, from Marrakech to the major European capital cities, Hassan Hajjaj reflects through MUSA his multicultural experience using symbols, brand logos and images of women with transformed niqabs.

Combining photographs taken from a car and a staging which is reminiscent of the series Gun by William Klein, the triptych Casablanca, New York, Bamako (2010) by Mohamed El Baz forms an enigmatic work in the form of a riddle that questions the role of art and the images of a fragmented and totally elusive reality.

Turkish artists

Another major section of the sale, the Turkish scene is represented by the duo Alex and Felix whose series Queen Revolver invents a crazy plastic world halfway between David LaChapelle and Gilbert & George. Very stylish women with a lot of make-up on pose in a dreamlike and pop setting designed with everyday artifacts.

With Black Swan Event # 2 (2011), Zeren Götkan questions the unpredictable and the random events of life, displacement: abandonment, destruction, forcing the viewer to ignore their experience. Abandoning the (impossible) desire to rationalize the improbable, the artist shows us the way for embracing the inexplicable events of life.

The unexpected is also at the foundation of Burçak Bingol's work. In her series Unforeseen Transformation (2011), the artist depicts everyday utensils, such as a gas cylinder and a jerry can. Made of ceramic, decorated with colorful patterns and carried by a woman with carefully staged poses, these artifacts take on a new dimension reminiscent of engraving or illumination.

Press contacts :

Sylvia Beder communicationculture
+33 1 42 18 09 41