Haus Konstruktiv and Zurich Insurance Group are delighted to honor this year’s winner of the “Zurich Art Prize”, Latifa Echakhch (b. 1974 in El Khnansa, Morocco). Latifa Echakhch, who grew up in France and now lives in Fully, Switzerland, attracted the attention of the international artworld with, among other things, her work “Fantasia” at the 2011 Venice Biennale: this comprised a series of tilted white flagpoles that lined the path to padiglione Centrale.
Latifa Echakhch’s works are characterized by the use of simple, but always impressive, gestures and materials. In a focused, accurate manner, this artist turns her attention to issues regarding individual and cultural identity, to personal and collective histories, and to sociopolitical changes that pose new challenges for our society. Recently, affected by the current migration and humanitarian dramas, she presented an installation at a Protocinema space in Istanbul, with two video works that thematize the sea as a bearer of hope. The images of dramas involving refugees also played a major role in the conception of her exhibition at Museum haus konstruktiv: In “Screen Shot” on the 2nd floor, folding screens based on the artist’s height and arranged like a labyrinth are draped with clothes that have been immersed in ink. These coverings with nobody inside them are reminiscent of wet clothing that has been lost on the run. They leave behind thin rivulets of dark color on the folding screens.
Flowing trails of ink already appeared in Echakhch’s 2007 work “For Each Stencil a Revolution”, the title of which refers back to a Yasser Arafat quote about the revolutionarily eventful late 1960s. Back then, blue carbon paper was often used for disseminating political proclamations; Echakhch had affixed such paper to the wall and treated it with a solution that caused the ink within it to run out, much like many a political idea that trickles away like ink and fades into oblivion.