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Solo exhibition with Younes Baba-Ali
La Maac, Brussels
Curated by Hicham Khalidi
This is the first solo-exhibition of Younes Baba-Ali at la Maac in Brussels. In this exhibition Baba-Ali presents a collection of new works that deal with the city of Brussels and its inhabitants as a backdrop. According to him the metropole, also the capital of Europe, is proud of its diverse character and sells itself accordingly. But underneath the surface, it is also fragmented, which leads to a fraudulent sort of 'togetherness'.
Younes Baba-Ali makes art that is unconventional, intelligent and critical, mostly in public space or places uncommon to art practice. He is a sharp observer and raises pertinent questions aimed at society, the institution and above all, his audience. As a free thinker he holds a mirror up to society and confronts it with its ingrained habits and dysfunctions. Baba-Ali’s work often assumes the form of the readymade, but underneath its facade of simplicity there is a complex exercise in balance at work. As an artist-alchemist he measures and mixes technology, objects, sound, video and photography with political, social and ecological issues. The resulting installations discreetly coerce the unsuspecting viewer into taking a stand. Baba-Ali shuns no controversy and often finds himself negotiating his art and its rationale with his environment. His works are context-specific and take their final form in dialogue with its spectators. This at times disruptive intervention art confronts the viewer in an ironical way with himself and his environment. Baba-Ali presents people dilemmas and taboos and challenges them to (re)act. In this way he makes them his accomplices in acts of artistic guerrilla that unite the establishment and the common man.Born in 1986 in Oujda (Ma), Younes Baba-Ali lives and works in Brussels (Be) & Casablanc (Ma). Graduating from l’Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg in 2008, and from l’Ecole Supérieure d’Art d’Aix-en-Provence in 2011, he was rewarded by the prize “Léopold Sédar Senghor”, during the African Contemporary Art Biennial of Dakar (Sn) in 2012 and the prize “Boghossian”, during the Belgian Art Prize “Art’Contest” in Brussels (Be) in 2014. He has participated in several international exhibitions and biennials among them “Digital Africa: The Future is Now“, Southbank Centre, London (UK); “Strange Paradoxe”, MuCEM, Marseille (Fr); “Nass Belgica”, Botanique, Brussels (Be); “Where are we now?”, 5th Marrakech Biennial, Marrakech (Ma); “L’MAR9A”, Voice Gallery, Marrakech (Ma); “Travail, mode d’emploi”, Centrale for Contemporary Art, Brussels (Be); “Transaction Complete”, FaMa Gallery, Verona (It); “Dak’Art”, 10th African Contemporary Art Biennial, Dakar (Sn).