To celebrate the grand opening of its new gallery in Alserkal Avenue, Dubai, Elmarsa is showcasing 'Il n’est d’autres souverains que ceux qui me regardent' by Rachid Koraichi.

Established in 1994 in Tunis, Elmarsa is a contemporary and modern art gallery based in Tunis and newly in Dubai. The gallery is proud to play an important role in the Arab art community by offering an opportunity to showcase, network and exchange at the regional and international level by exhibiting modern and contemporary artists from North Africa. The gallery today operates with the mission to generate interest in Arab art, inspire dialogue between cultural, social and artistic leaders, and to develop international connections through its interest in fostering relationships between art and people.

image Exhibition, Installation view / Courtesy of Elmarsa Gallery

As part of the launch of its new space in Dubai, Elmarsa present a long awaited solo show by internationally renowned Algerian artist Rachid Koraichi, featuring a site-specific installation of monumental sculptural and two-dimensional works. The exhibition 'Il n’est d’autres souverains que ceux qui me regardent' (Be none other sovereigns than those who look at me) puts forward the spiritual, intellectual and political power of scripture in Koraichi’s art. As with many of his work, Koraichi aims to show that the world of Islam, in contrast to contemporary perceptions of crisis and violence, also consists of tolerant and sophisticated writings of great Muslim thinkers and poets. Strongly concerned with the Islamic concept of Safar - travel and transcendence - Koraichi is embarking us on a mystic voyage in the world of sacred script, symbolic numbers and magical signs in the context of today’s global complex challenges, thereby adding political relevance to his oeuvre. Koraichi’s work explores the culture of artisan, along with Sufism's deep humanistic strain that respects intellectual curiosity, tolerance of diversity and freedom of expression. Therefore, his artwork is deeply anchored in universal Love, Love of God, and the Love of those close to our hearts.

Each of the four installations being exhibited at Elmarsa comprise of all unique original pieces.

Les Priants ∙ 2015

Koraichi’s installation titled 'Les Priants', features 21 unique Corten steel sculptures. Corten steel was specifically chosen to create a distinctly aged and weathered appearance, which actually enhances with time once the metal reacts with atmospheric elements. As inherent to his approach, Koraichi once again uses a multiple of 7, a number and symbol that has such powerful spiritual and scientific connections. Each of the individual 21 sculptures explore the fundamental relationship between light and shadow, and how one cannot function without the other.

image Rachid Koraichi, Les Priants, 2015 / Courtesy of Elmarsa Gallery

Les Prieurs ∙ 2015

'Les Prieurs' (The Prayers) comprises of three polished bronze and green patina sculptures. Each of the three figures are unique pieces representing different monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity & Islam. Koraichi compares this to the belief of having no religious hierarchy in Sufism, which is of great inspiration throughout his work and life.

image Rachid Koraichi, Les Prieurs, 2015 / Courtesy of Elmarsa Gallery

Amour, passion, révolution ∙ 2015

'Amour, passion, révolution' (Love, passion, revolution) is an installation comprising of three large original tapestries. Each of the three tapestry pieces reveal his own experience of love, loss and right. Inspired by the provoking and passionate story of Koraichi’s life, this monumental tapestry denounces the authoritarian systems in countries that spread the Arab revolution, such as Tunisia, his country of adoption, and also Algeria, his country of origin. Throughout the tapestry, Koraichi references the work of poet Abou el Kacem Chebbi, and uses his messages to convey his own personal opinions.

image From the opening night, visitors looking at the installation 'Amour, passion, révolution', 2015 / Courtesy of Elmarsa Gallery

image From the opening night, visitors looking at the installation 'Amour, passion, révolution', 2015 / Courtesy of Elmarsa Gallery

Talisman ∙ 2015

Inspired by the Qur'anic board which Koraichi used as a child, 'Talisman', is made up of 99 bronze tablets that have been carefully inscribed with original signs and symbols depicting the image of universal Love. Koraichi chose to create these pieces from bronze, a noble metal, as a reference to the steel gun barrels, knives, and pistols, that were used throughout terrorism in Algeria. The universal power of Love encompasses Love for your country and the people you cherish, as much as the Love of God, yet this is being increasingly contradicted by war and terrorism. This became a key inspiration for Koraichi whilst producing this installation; his strong belief in spiritual love for all, found him questioning the motives behind these real life issues. This huge collection of 99 unique pieces comprises of codes that can be interpreted in every culture, and are to be viewed in chronological order.

image Rachid Koraichi, Talisman, 2015 / Courtesy of Elmarsa Gallery

image Rachid Koraichi, Talisman, 2015 / Courtesy of Elmarsa Gallery

Rachid Koraichi (Algeria, b.1947)

image Rachid Koraichi / Courtesy of Elmarsa Gallery

Rachid Koraichi was born in Ain Beida, Algeria, in 1947, and now lives and works in Tunisia and France. He first studied at the Institute of Fine Arts and the Superior National School of the Arts in Algeria, before moving to France to continue his studies at the National School of Decorative Arts and the School of Urban Studies in Paris. Koraichi’s sculptural explorations extend across an impressive range of different media, with his installations including ceramics, textiles, various metals and painted work on silk, paper or canvas. His work is influenced by an abiding fascination with signs of all kinds, both real and imaginary. Beginning with the intricate beauties of the Arabic calligraphic scripts his work is composed of symbols, glyphs and ciphers drawn from a wide variety of other languages and cultures.

While his aesthetics are deeply rooted in his multicultural Algerian heritage, Rachid Koraichi is a truly cosmopolitan artist who speaks to a global audience. He has participated in many international exhibitions, and his work is included in major private and public collections worldwide such as the British Museum, London; the National Museum for African Art, Washington and the Museum of Islamic Arts, Doha. In 2010, he contributed works to the Centro Cultural Banco do Brazil’s exhibition Isla, (Islam) and The Future of Tradition – The Tradition of Future, at the Haus de Kunst, Germany. He is a recipient of The Jameel Prize which he received in 2011.

His work is a part of many public collections: Museum of Modern Art of Paris, France; Musée national des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie, Paris, France; Museum of Modern Art of Cairo, Egypt; British Museum, London, UK; Museum of Mankind, London, UK; Vesti Corporation, Boston, USA; Cheminal Bank, New York, USA; Museum Voor Volkenkunde, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; National Gallery, Amman, Jordan; National Gallery, Kuwait; Museum of Modern Art of Tunis, Tunisia; Museum of Contemporary Art, Baghdad, Iraq; Cabinet des estampes - Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris, France; Multimedia library of Limoges, France; Museum of Contemporary Art, Institut du Monde Arabe (IAW), Paris, France; Foundation Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal; Fondation A.Shoman, Darat al Funun, Amman, Jordan; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, USA; Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Worl Bank, Washington, USA.

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