Dec 01 2009 - Feb 14 2010
Latifa Echakhch, Installation view, Movement and Complication, Swiss Institute, 2009
Latifa Echakhch uses her identity and experience to question pre-conceived ideas about nationality, religion, and history. Intellectually challenging, but at once sensual, the artist’s work explores society in an increasingly globalized world.
In her first institutional solo exhibition in the United States, Latifa Echakhch presents a new body of work. The site-specific installation Plaintes (complaints) is inspired by The Modulor, a system of measurements developed by Swiss architect Le Corbusier. Echakhch applies the architect’s measures to eight charcoal wall drawings, which create an obscure pattern throughout the gallery. In addition, she displays small wooden brainteasers on pedestals. On a formal level they allude to the bag of tricks of modernism. The piece is consequently entitled HLM, after the subsidized housing complexes in the French banlieue. Furthermore, the large windows on Broadway are painted in a bright yellow, based on the substance Gaya (E102), a food coloring used as an inexpensive substitute for saffron in Asian cooking.
The exhibition’s title Movement and Complication borrows terms from horology. In this field, a movement indicates a simple watch. The term complication, however, refers to any feature beyond the basic display of hours, minutes, and seconds. The more complications (e.g. a moon calendar), the more difficult it is to design, create, assemble, and eventually repair the watch. Latifa Echakhch applies those terms to question urbanism, related theories and eventually social movement and complication.