Certificate of authenticity - Signed by artist
Born in Morocco and raised in Belgium; a self-taught photographer-cum-artist – Lamrabat’s is a tale of multiple identities, of many boxes – and, in turn, of the subversion and breaking-out of these boxes. Today Lamrabat’s vision, his place of belonging, comes to exist – like Belgium and Morocco – in the physical world as photographic series. It is the development of an archive of images that represent the specific vision of Lamrabat, spotlighting the world he sees, the world he lives in. And it is here, as images fictionally located in Mousganistan, that we find his latest body of work, Sir Mix A Lot.
“Mousganistan is a place I‘ve fantasised about since I was a kid. I never gave it a name back then, but it was a place where I felt I could be 100% myself.”
Images with an accessible and axiomatic reference to art history, Sir Mix A Lot sees the deliberate interweaving of historically Eurocentric and globally contemporary aesthetics to playfully break with the traditions of the established, normative (art) world. Staying true to Lamrabat’s vision, the works featured in this series discern the collision of multiple spheres – and we are presented with a body of photography that is only possible precisely because of its very unlikely – yet clearly coveted – intermingling of ambivalent iconography. Immerse yourself in Lamrabat’s subjects and their history, and you’ll quickly find that this is a body of work worth collecting.
The transparency and openness of Lamrabat’s images is infectious, and lends to their playful and whimsical quality – not to mention their value as a photographic archive.
Here, in the artwork titled Brozart, for example, we see a subject dressed in Adidas sports fashion – arguably the contemporary world’s admission of rank; in stark contrast to this, he wears a dyed-yellow judges wig – an ancient symbol of aristocracy reflecting one’s elevated social status. Whilst the symbols featured here may mean the same thing – a declaration of class and standing – they’re from vastly different times, places and societies, and Lamrabat has reworked them to suit his narrative: in Mousganistan we’re all of this class.
Brozart’s subject is also seated upon a plinth draped in deep purple cloth; he bears a bouquet of flowers in one arm while the other rests lightly on his knee. The pose is symbolic of traditional portraiture; throughout art history we have seen powerful and upstanding individuals depicted in this manner – and it is perhaps here, too, that Lamrabat’s work finds its value. The limitless sky behind Lamrabat’s subject - which features in each portrait of Sir Mix A Lot – is a direct reference to the clouded sky in Belgian artist René Magritte’s The Son of Man (1964); yet here there is no skyline, these subjects will not be grounded.
As a kind of anti-art series in celebration of those who have historically lived on the fringe, Sir Mix A Lot charmingly mimics the images we have seen so often in the world of art and turns them into images that Lamrabat – as well as a whole generation of immigrant youth – wants to see.
“Museums were never places I went to – I just didn’t know this world. So I wanted to recreate this art form in a way that people, like me, would be more appealed to the artworks that hang inside galleries and museums. I just asked myself – why didn’t I enjoy these old paintings that cost a fortune? Why don’t they speak to me? What would speak to me? And then Sir Mix A Lot came to life.”
Mous Lamrabat is a photographer, born in the north of Morocco. As a young child, his family moved to Belgium where he grew up. After finishing his studies as an interior architect, he was eager to learn to work the camera.
Self-taught, he developed his own unique vision on fashion photography and later on managed to fuse his moroccan roots, tradition and culture with the western world he grew up with. The last years his moroccan DNA is flowing more and more through his veins and his works. The urge to show this rich moroccan heritage through an artistic eye is present in everything he portraits and the inspiration he gets from his motherland is endless.