Somerset House are currently hosting a solo exhibition by the Moroccan-British artist Hassan Hajjaj and have dedicated the Terrace Rooms in the South Wing of the building to ‘La Caravane’, an exhibition which features photographic portraits, video installations, music, an installation of a motorcycle, and pieces dedicated to humble socks and woolly hats!
The first of a trio of rooms contains photographic portraits of artists, performers, athletes, musicians and more – all framed with his typical repetitious tin-can or food packaging border. At the centre of the space, a motorbike bedecked in re-imaginings of the Louis Vuitton logo sits on top of bright red pallets, a green patterned base and mini cans of paint around the border which echo the framing of the portraits on the walls. The next room is dominated by a 1960’s inspired sofa facing multiple video installations of people who have sat for portraits playing musical instruments, signing, or talking to camera, as well as two portraits framed in Hajjaj’s ubiquitous style hung above the fireplaces at either end of the room. The final space contains more photographic portraits alongside three unusual works; one focussing on plastic sunglasses, one on socks and another on woolly hats. The vivid colours and customised textiles, furniture and household items utilised throughout the show evoke the street culture of Marrakesh where the artist was born and spends much of his time. Similarly his deliberate arrangements and careful positioning of people and objects in each shot shape the viewers understanding of each portrait, and question the relationship between “people” (or objects) and “place”. Vibrant, irreverent and full of personality this free – yes free – exhibition certainly put a smile on our face!
Check out more of our fave exhibitions in London here.
Until Sun 7th January 2018
Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA