Ceci n'est pas un Magritte, 2019
From the series "Sir Mix A Lot"
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Ceci n'est pas un Magritte, 2019
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.
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.
Following through with his reference and perhaps tribute to Magritte is Lamrabat’s Ceci n’est pas un Magritte (This is not a Magritte). An overt play on both Magritte’s The Son of Man and The Treachery of Images (1929) – Lamrabat’s subject stands facing the camera, his face distorted by an apple that has been taped over it – cheekily not unlike Maurizio Cattelan’s recent creation, Comedian (a fresh banana taped to the wall of a gallery booth at Art Basel Miami in 2019 – you’ll know it when you see it).
Almost indiscernible from the original artwork, Ceci n’est un Magritte breaks from The Son of Man only with the slight, creeping presence of a tattoo on the figure’s neck, and with the silver strip of duct tape holding the apple in place. And, this time, the subject is black.
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.