Join Miles Barth, senior specialist in photography for artnet Auctions, as he sits down with artist Hassan Hajjaj (Moroccan, b.1961) at the Taymour Grahne Gallery in New York. Surrounded by his portraits, and sitting on a bench he created and designed, the artist discusses how his work stems from a desire to share and document his culture with others. His work addresses issues of consumption, consumerism, and branding in a cross-cultural context, combining elements of contemporary fashion and design with art historical portrait formats that are enriched by handcrafted frames. These works often place familiar and immediately recognizable objects and symbols out of their traditional context, engaging and challenging viewers to interact with these symbols in a new way. Seemingly playful at first, these works often address very serious issues, and are composed with expertise and the eye of an artist who is also a craftsman.
Hajjaj was born in Morocco, but moved to London at a young age, where the vibrant fashion, music, and club scenes influenced him in his youth. Hajjaj had to find his “own village” in London as a Moroccan living abroad, and describes how, at first, his art was simply a way to share his culture and heritage with his friends. As a self-taught artist, Hajjaj has always been passionate about photography, but is a multi-talented artist whose work includes design, installation, performance, video, fashion, and furniture. His works feature colorful repetition and recycled objects, and traditional elements deeply rooted in his North African upbringing. The artist currently works in London and Marrakech, and has works featured in several prestigious public and private collections worldwide. Watch the video to find out more about Hajjaj and his career, and check out his current exhibition on view at the Taymour Grahne Gallery, located at 157 Hudson Street in New York, NY until March 7.