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  • Writer's pictureZoltan Alexander

nº50 / 1:54 MARRAKESH 2020 / PART-I

What is behind the ochre wall? A three-day discovery at 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair Marrakesh 2020. Interviews, reviews and the most prominent artists and art galleries of the last virus-free Art Fair.

Review by Zoltan Alexander



Interviews and featured galleries, artists by Zoltan Alexander

Interview with founder Touria El Glaoui of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair (London, New York, Marrakesh)

interview with gallery owner Nathalie Locatelli of Galerie 127 (Marrakesh)

Followed by a selection of satellite exhibitions throughout the city: Hassan Hajjaj and Ismail Zaidy at Riad Yima (Marrakesh), Eric van Hove at Voice Gallery (Marrakesh), Nicolas Lefebvre, Sara Imloul, David Daim (Paris) and Denis Dailleux (Cairo) at Galerie 127 (Marrakesh)

Other artists and galleries will be featured in PART II. and PART III.

1:54 Marrakesh 2020 / © video by Zoltan Alexander ZOLTAN+MEDIA

I wonder if we have the right in our damaged society to enjoy beautiful moments and exceptions such as meeting artists, gallerists, curators and art lovers in order to guard against sentimentality. Maybe we should turn away from all known structures. What allows us to understand, to hope?

Writing about 1:54 is an easy job in London but not in Marrakesh. Whilst one could rigorously follow a short journalistic review format to cover art fairs, it is utterly impossible in Marrakesh; the mind wonders and breaks all known formats. The Fair is inseparable from the city and its people. The review turns into an ode.

Afternoon tea on the terrace of Royal Mansour, Marrakesh

No matter how many times you have visited Marrakesh, it will always make the heart beat faster. Upon arrival the hot air hits your face, the sun embraces the ochre city, the dusty pink, uni-colour buildings, the palm trees. It reflects on the pool of the Riads and makes Koutoubia Mosque solid red whilst the haunting muezzin invites you to pray.

The traffic noise drifts with the hypnotic Arabic music and goatskin-covered drums throughout the city. The air carries the steaming grills of fish, oil, burnt wood, a dizzying mix of citrus, magnolia and gasoline. In the narrow alleys of the Medina (the old city), one has to navigate cautiously between the crowd, stubborn donkeys, fast-speeding scooters, lost tourists, street performers and storytellers. Alongside the stores old men sitting in their traditional hooded caftans and fez accompanied by obedient pets and occasional tamed snakes.

When the night falls, you feel an opening up of life and most unusually stars appear in the clarity of the night sky.

Djemaa el Fna square / Photo © Courtesy of Siegfried Gehlhaar
The Medina / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA

The Moroccan circle, halqa, relies on storytelling, as well as improvisation and spontaneity. It has existed since the 11th century when Marrakesh was once a capital and medieval trading post. The city preserves the aesthetic glory of a forgotten time, it is magical, mesmerising and somewhere a bit dangerous as without noticing, it gets under your skin and you helplessly fall in love with its magic, never wanting to leave, it's a city that has seduced everyone from Winston Churchill to Yves Saint Laurent.

Photo © Courtesy of Hassan Hajjaj

Marrakesh is timeless, mystical, musical and alluring. Moroccans have preserved forgotten centuries. Despite rapid modernisation, the Medina, surrounded with a 16km red wall, is an oasis. A city-in-a-city with its labyrinths, there are no signs of a fast-paced world or any high-fashion brands.

Guéliz (the new city), on the other hand, is radically different with its kaleidoscopic spectrum of culture, traditional and industrious market places, large buildings, noisy wide avenues from the French-era filled with Moroccan and European cafés. Restaurants, bars, as well as art galleries and mainstream fashion stores complement its European-style new architecture.

Further East of Marrakesh, La Palmeraie, could be another city with its waste-space and glorious palm-tree scenery, hidden luxury spas and private villas.

Marrakesh has been attracting artists for centuries. The city has recently been rediscovered as a cultural hub. Visitors do not come to see camels and belly dancers anymore; only the appallingly dressed tourists who do not pay much respect to others around them anyway.

From top / a Berber / David Daim / Riad Serge Lutens

As Bertolucci once described in his movie "Thé au Sahara":

"Whereas tourists merely pass through on a fixed schedule and hurry back home without taking the time to savour the details, travellers belong no more to one place than to the next, move slowly over a period of time, weeks, months, sometimes years, as the mood dictates. Travellers need never return." In that respect, I am a true traveller.

Maybe journalism should be similar, sentences conceived in their own time and rhythm, remote from impossible deadlines and rushed publishing. Maybe journalistic writing should be more like storytelling, personal, analytical, philosophical and fact-correct rather than a race. It's a language which is not fully ours yet. Our present time will tell.

"Loop" by Ismail Zaidy / Photo © Courtesy of Ismail Zaidy l4artiste
Lantern maker / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA
Souk district / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA
Riad Edward / Photo © Courtesy of Riad Edward
Courtyard at Serge Lutens Foundation / Photo © Courtesy of Serge Lutens Foundation
"Berberliner" by Deborah Benzaquen / Photo © Courtesy of Deborah Benzaquen
La Mamounia / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA


La Mamounia, renovated by Jacques Garcia, a jewel of Arab-Andalusian architecture, hosts the third edition of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in Marrakesh. The Art Fair starts days before its public opening with preview days and private dinners allowing art collectors, curators and journalists to meet and engage in a conversation with artists and galleries.

In 2017, the spotlight was on Cape Town due to the launch of Zeitz Mocaa, the world's first dedicated contemporary African art museum, which firmly made the city into a cultural hub, however, a continent of 54 countries and over a billion people urgently needed more than one international art hub. It is only now that Marrakesh gains a wildly respected international role in art, thanks to founder of the renowned 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Touria El Glaoui.

La Mamounia / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA

Fact Check One

  • El Glaoui's voice is heard from London to New York and Marrakesh

  • The first Marrakesh edition was inaugurated in 2018 with the participation of MACAAL, the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden and the opening of the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakesh

  • The 3rd Marrakesh edition was between 22-23 February 2020, at the opulent La Mamounia Palace

  • In New York, the 6th edition was going to open between 8-10 May 2020, at the Caldwell Factory

  • In London, the 8th edition between 8-11 October 2020, was going to be running alongside FRIEZE week at Somerset House

Fact Check Two

  • Touria El Glaoui was born in Marrakesh, daughter of Hassan El Glaoui, a painter of figurative scenes of horsemen and landscapes; granddaughter of the last Pasha of Marrakesh, Thami El Glaoui, following a 300-year-old dynasty over the Berbers

  • El Glaoui's career began in the banking industry, has organized and co-curated exhibitions of the work of her father, Hassan El Glaoui, before founding 1:54 in London, in 2013

  • El Glaoui is the founding director of the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair London, New York, Marrakesh

  • Touria El Glaoui is fierce and determent

Amazigh woman by Jean Besancenot / Maison de la Photographie Marrakesh / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA
Amazigh woman by Jean Besancenot / Maison de la Photographie Marrakesh / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA

Omar Berrada, writer and curator: "Rejoining the African Union in 2017, after a 33-year absence, with a stronger economical presence there's a serious interest in reclaiming a sense of belonging on the continent, which wasn't the case five-ten years ago."

Nathalie Obadia, Parisian art gallery owner: "The advantage of Morocco is also its stability when many African countries are in uncertain situations."

One, who has never yet attended 1:54 in Marrakesh, could make the wrong presumption that the Art Fair looks a little bit like African art for a mainly white, European audience who only come to enjoy the winter sun in the idyllic surroundings of the idyllic La Mamounia Palace.

How wrong is that!

Whichever way you look at 1:54, it is unquestionably a diverse and vibrant international art fair portraying the multitude of contemporary art and artists of Africa and its diaspora. The Fair draws a reference to one continent and fifty-four countries (1:54) that constitute the African continent and it is designed for those looking to gain a deeper insight of the continent's diverse art scene and art market. The atmosphere is very specific here, Marrakesh offers a full scene mixing a strong spirit of celebration and elegance, very different from London or New York.

The Art Fair and its hors mur satellite exhibitions have already attracted a new kind of visitor, the one that looks beyond the incense-laded souks that speak so heavily of Morocco's past, towards its future as one of the loudest voices in the African art world.

"Random #4" by Artsi Ifrach and Mous Lamrabat of ARTSIMOUS / Photo by © Courtesy of Voice Gallery
"Dounia #2" by Artsi Ifrach and Mous Lamrabat of ARTSIMOUS / Photo by © Courtesy of Voice Gallery


I had the honour to ask Touria El Glaoui before the opening of the Art Fair to define the role of African art in contemporary art.

"Collectors, both on the continent and internationally have gained more confidence in the contemporary African and diaspora art market. Now more than ever, the market is perceived as a worthy investment. Seasoned collectors are willing to take more risks which are favourable for emerging artists. In addition, there has been a renewed appreciation for traditional artistic practices and emerging artists. Perceptions of aesthetics and art from the African continent and its diaspora have also become more nuanced. There is still a long way to go particularly when it comes to diversification of institutions."

What is your definition of 1:54?

"Africa is a continent - that's what the title of the Fair itself was in 2018. It recalls: 1 continent, 54 countries. At the Art Fair, we gather a geographical reality and highlights all the diversity of these various art scenes to make people realise that Morocco is part of Africa."

Why did you choose African contemporary art?

"When I started 1:54 it was calculated that only 0.05% of artists at all major international art fairs were Africans. So until this number increases, 1:54 remains a necessary platform for many artists coming from this huge continent."

Photo © Courtesy of Prince Gyasi

Why did you launch 1:54 in Marrakesh following the London and New York editions?

"London and New York are capitals and centres of the art world but it has always been our long-term ambition to launch an edition in Africa. Having created a global platform for contemporary African art and strengthened our position in London and New York now is the time to use our influence and connections to bring the focus back to the continent and build on the solid base of African collectors and institutions.

Marrakech is a vibrant city but until 2013 it was without an art fair. The idea was not to compete with other Africa-based fairs but to add to the developing market and offer something new for the international collectors. After raising the profile of African artists overseas, it was always our plan and ambition to bring the focus back to the African continent, to create a solid base on African soil. I had the chance in the past five years to go all over Africa for art events and photo festivals and work, hand in hand, with curators and artists. "

How were the participant galleries selected and how was the programme put together for Marrakesh?

"The selection criteria is always the same: rigour, commitment to the development of their artists, having an international outreach, being attentive to their local context and impact. There is a selection committee that reviews all applications but the members remain confidential for obvious reasons. This year we welcomed over 20 leading galleries from 10 countries including Belgium, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa and the United Kingdom."

"Water Mama Africa" by Mohamed Melehi / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA

How is your collaboration with other museums?

"The 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair attracted numerous directors and curators affiliated with museums and institutions including the Tate Modern, MoMA, The Smithsonian, Zeitz MOCAA, Centre Pompidou and also presented projects in partnership with Musée d'Art Contemporain Africain Al Madeen (MACAAL), Musée Yves Saint-Laurent Marrakech and Fondation Montresso, Le 18, Comptoir des Mines, Galerie 127 and Institut Français, amongst many others.

The MACAAL is dedicated to promoting and facilitating access to contemporary African art. As a part of the Special Projects programme, the museum presents a group show "Have You Seen a Horizon Lately?" following their huge success in 2018, "Africa Is No Island", which showcased 40 emerging and established photographers working on the continent and in the wider diaspora. The exhibition paid tribute to the creative energy and cultural diversity found across the continent and provided a contextual framework for contemporary Moroccan art. That is what we wish to continue."

Mehdi Ghinati / Photo © Courtesy of Eric van Hove

As a native Moroccan, where do you live most of the time?

"I was born and raised in Morocco, so this has been like a homecoming. Although I live in London now where I initiated 1:54 in 2013, I often come back to my beloved Marrakesh."

How do you find the art market today?

"The is a slight problem with contemporary African art. If you look at Chinese or US artists, they're selling for six, seven-figures, but the very top artists from the African continent could only get €100,000 maximum, someone like Yinka Shonibare. The few artists that do sell at that level are being represented by London, Paris and New York-based galleries. The message is clear: African collectors have to buy now before it is too late, and they realise that they missed the chance to buy when their artists were still affordable. To pay a foreign gallery in Moroccan Dirhams is still a lengthy process, hence most works are priced in foreign currency.

Let's look at the question more closely. Goodman Gallery represents photographers like Shirin Neshat, David Goldblatt and in 2020 they are showing Mounir Fatmi's work, which is a particular strength at the Fair. The French Galerie Nathalie Obadia has concentrated solely on photographic portraits exploring African identity, by artists including the famous Malian photographer Seydou Keïta and Youssef Nabil from Egypt, but also the US artist Andres Serrano's depictions of African women. Marrakesh, however, is still the city of Hassan Hajjaj, a London-born photographer with a cult following who splits his time between the UK and Morocco."

Where are the exhibitions during the Art Fair?

"Evidently at our headquarters at La Mamounia Palace but there are dozens of satellite exhibitions throughout the city, in the Medina, Gueliz and neighbourhood and La Palmeraie."

© video by 1:54 Marrakesh 2020

1:54 offered a large selection of international galleries, more than half of which came from the African continent. We made a selection out of the over 70 artists working in a wide variety of mediums. Here are the most significant ones.

Riad Yima of Hassan Hajjaj / Photo © Courtesy of Hassan Hajjaj

RIAD YIMA Marrakesh

"3aila / العائلة" an exhibition presenting the works of young photographer Ismail Zaidy by Hassan Hajjaj.

Well-hidden in the Medina, not far from the cavalcade of La Place des Épices, the Rahba Ladima, the Riad Yima is a spectacular work of love that took over three years to complete, with every detail very carefully made by the artist Hassan Hajjaj. He initially acquired an old house, rebuilt it into a jewellery-box, and recently transformed it into a gallery and tea room. The Riad Yima features Hajjaj's artworks, furniture designs and various products. Fusing multi-cultures, his work ranges from photographs of Arab life and women on motorbikes to recycled furniture made from African advertising signs and found pieces.

Hassan Hajjaj is probably the most significant and celebrated artist in North Africa. He was born in 1961 in Larache, Morocco, and moved to London at an early age, in 1975. Turning to photography in the late 80s, Hajjaj is a master portraitist, taking studio portraits of friends, musicians and artists, often wearing clothes designed by him. Heavily influenced by hip-hop, reggae and the London club scene as well as by his North African heritage, most Hajjaj's works feature recycled utilitarian objects from North Africa. These colourful and engaging portraits combine the visual vocabulary of contemporary fashion photography, pop art and the studio photography of African artist Malick Sidibé, in an intelligent commentary on the influences of tradition in the interpretations of high and low branding and the effects of global capitalism.

Cover of Vogue with Billie Eilish by Hassan Hajjaj / Photo © Courtesy of Hassan Hajjaj

"Nowadays everyone has a mobile phone, it's the quickest way of expressing yourself. I've discovered a lot of young people between 18-19-year-old, doing photography. Although photography is pretty huge across Africa, the problem is that there are not enough representations, gallery spaces, magazines and education is badly needed".

Hajjaj adds: "I am trying to focus on this gap, and if I had the money or the team, I would love to open a gallery or a school."

Hassan Hajjaj, who recently shot Billie Eilish for the cover of Vogue has already started filling that gap by helping young local photographers paving their way and putting them into the spotlight. For 1:54 Hajjaj set up an exhibition in his Riad entitled "3aila / العائلة" (Family in English), for the young photographer Ismail Zaidy, also known as L4tiste, one of Morocco's rising stars.

"Family" by Ismail Zaidy / Photo © Courtesy of Ismail Zaidy l4artiste

This is Zaidy's first solo exhibition featuring his photographic series in natural landscapes with Moroccan cultural elements. He is amongst a new generation of young photographers sprouting out of Marrakech. He started taking pictures during the summer of 2017, and realised that he could not live without artistic creation and photography. He experimented with his smartphone producing images of his brother and sister.

In 2018, I started working on a project "3aila / العائلة / Family" with my younger brother Othmane (18yrs) and my sister Fatima (15yrs) who both play a big part in developing my artistic concepts. Family is intrinsic to my creativity, for me it is a family affair. All my pictures are taken with my Galaxy S5 at the studio Sa3ada, a space that we created on the terrace of our apartment. Sa3ada means “joyful”, the feeling we get when we make these pictures using this space. The creative process always starts with a research, finding ideas and getting props from the flea market but it also depends on my siblings, finding time between their school schedule and exams.

Like most Moroccans, I am very much attached to my family. In my pictures I try to shine light and put my focus on this subject, the problems, the lack of communication, the distance between family members and parents. I rarely talk about these subjects but I am trying to treat the issue throughout my photographic work, showing that family is one of the most valuable gifts in our lives. Through my images I want to promote Moroccan culture and shut down the stereotypes associated with my country. Purest love that there is, and will ever be.”

Ismail Zaidy / l4artiste

"Spirit Twins" by Ismail Zaidy / Photo © Courtesy of Ismail Zaidy l4artiste
"Hanged Emotion" by Ismail Zaidy / Photo © Courtesy of Ismail Zaidy l4artiste
"How long do you see your head, so you can see mirrors at night?" by Photo © Courtesy of Ismail Zaidy l4artiste
"How long do you see your head, so you can see mirrors at night?" by Photo © Courtesy of Ismail Zaidy l4artiste
The ruins of Voice Gallery / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA


"Binatna" an exhibition presenting the works of Eric van Hove by Voice Gallery.

It is a long drive down on the Avenue Essaouira in the Menara of Marrakesh to a hangar where "Binatna", an in situ installation by Eric van Hove was set up by Voice Gallery, not far from the corps and ruins of the former gallery space, which only six months ago, due to some renovation work has entirely collapsed and the falling walls and roof destroyed many of their valuable artwork. This kind of catastrophe could have shot down any big galleries, however, Rocco Orlacchio, the founder-director of the gallery within months restructured the business and re-opened the gallery in the neighbouring building of La Conserverie.

"Binatna" by Eric van Hove / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA

The new space debuted with Eric van Hove's installation. Van Hove is a Cameroon-raised Belgian conceptual artist, was born in Guelma, Algeria and there are few places on earth where he hasn't been or lived. Last time he was studying in Japan when we interviewed him for a French publication. At that time, he was known as a poet and avant-garde calligrapher with projects that involved drawings and improvised poetry performed at various locations worldwide.

In 2012, he arrived in Morocco to resume work on an ambitious sculptural endeavour he had prepared for years: "V12 Laraki", which he constructed by hand with several Moroccan artisans. He currently lives and works in the Atlas Mountains not far from Marrakech.

As part of the 1:54 Art Fair, Voice Gallery presented his complex sculptures of engines, cylinder heads, metal, wood and rural materials and centuries-old craft techniques from North Africa including his drawings. The engines are made of hundreds of parts and dozens of materials, juxtaposing traditional crafts with the forces of globalisation and exploring themes of wanderlust, de-familiarisation and psycho-geography. The sculptures are hybrids of different cultural and social contexts through which he explores the aesthetic and metaphorical territory in between craft and capitalist production.

"Binatna" by Eric van Hove. / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA

The story is based on the Laraki Fulgura, a Moroccan supercar by Industrial designer Abdeslam Laraki. While the Fulgura was entirely manufactured in Morocco to the exception of its engine, the artist decided to try and reproduce that cutting-edge component locally and saw as an unjustifiably neglected part of the national industry. The sculptures rapidly became the cornerstone of a new chapter in his creative practice leading to the founding of Atelier Eric van Hove, a context-specific production, or as he puts it "a living socio-economic sculpture"

Van Hove also believes in displaying art outside the walls of galleries and had a number of installations already in public spaces around the world.

"À Quatre Mains" by Nicolas Lefebvre and Sara Imloul at Galerie 127 / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA

GALERIE 127 Marrakesh

"À Quatre Mains" an exhibition presenting the works of Nicolas Lefebvre and Sara Imloul with a fine collaboration with David Daim. Meeting the artists was nothing but an eclectic visit to anecdotes.

Galerie 127 is only a short taxi ride from La Mamounia on the busy and rather chaotic Avenue Mohammed V. in the Guéliz of Marrakesh. Although the gallery is based in Marrakesh, it is already well-known in Paris and internationally due to ParisPhoto and the powerful direction of gallery director, Nathalie Locatelli.

This year, the gallery had a dual presentation at 1:54, one at La Mamounia as part of the Art Fair, and the other, as the Fair's satellite exhibition in the gallery's own space in Guéliz.

"À Quatre Mains" is the fruit of the work between sculptor Nicolas Lefebvre and photographer Sara Imloul. Both artists fascinated by ancient objects, shapes, materials and their evocations, began a dialogue between sculptures and photography.

"À Quatre Mains" by Sara Imloul at Galerie 127 / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA
"À Quatre Mains" by Sara Imloul at Galerie 127 / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA

Through her work, Sara Imloul invites us to dive into an intimist, monochrome universe of theatrics that makes use of light and darkness. Her first series, "Black Circus", was inspired by a calotype, a photographic process invented in the 19th century that enabled the production of paper negatives and hence the reproduction of contact images. Experimenting beyond this technique, Imloul has produced multiple series.

"Negatives" (2012) comprises of individual 4×5 camera images in which the contact leaves room for the original negative on baryte paper. In 2013, she collaborated with performance artist Nantais to create a video and installation. Using more personal family photos, Imloul created "The Castle" series in 2014.

David Daim / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA

Most recently, Imloul collaborated with French sculptor Nicolas Lefebvre to create the series "À Quatre Mains" and photographed the sculptor's works made of pieces of cloth and objects found in a Moroccan desert. These unique pieces, stones, Berber candlesticks and other historical objects were meticulously put together and handcrafted by David Daim, the much-acclaimed Parisian artist and jewellery designer.

Nicolas Lefebvre in his atelier / Photo © Courtesy of Constance Gennari
Nicolas Lefebvre in his atelier / Photo © Courtesy of Constance Gennari
Nicolas Lefebvre in his atelier / Photo © Courtesy of Constance Gennari
"À Quatre Mains" by Nicolas Lefebvre at Galerie 127 / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA

Nicolas Lefebvre grew up in a rich, classical, cultural environment and quickly followed his father's footsteps. He spent his childhood in Paris and travelled to the four corners of the world from Africa to Mexico, India and Asia. Passionate about Surrealism, he began to hunt for objects to make unique assemblies giving a new life to these pieces and objects coming from remote places of the world. After studying history of art at Louvre, he collaborated with gallery owner Jacques Lacoste who entrusted him with a mission to travel to Peru for research and to bring back furniture by Jean Royère for the gallery.

The trip allowed him to broaden his knowledge of primitive art but greatly inspired him and later integrated with his art. Upon his return, he worked with art dealers like Axel Vervoordt and the auctioneer Jean-Claude Binoche.

Nicolas Lefebvre / Photo © Courtesy of Galerie 127

"Working with Maître Binoche I was exposed to the most beautiful objects of primary arts. I like to stage my places, so every detail is important. I am very sensitive to the scenography around me. I like textures. The wood, source of life, gives me a lot of emotions. I like mixing the mineral, vegetal and animal kingdoms which naturally merge."

Lefebvre's work consists of gathering abandoned objects, to make art pieces, diverse cultures to remind us of our common roots. His sculptures acquire a spiritual quality and guided by the figure of the ansate cross, the mother goddess, the protective and kindly deity. With Imloul's photographs, his sculptures get a haunting feel like sacred ancestral archives.

"Le Caire" by Denis Dailleux / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA

GALERIE 127 Marrakesh / La Mamounia

A group exhibition presenting the works of Denis Dailleux.

In 2020, the Marrakesh based Galerie 127 presented a dual exhibition at 1:54. In Guéliz of Marrakesh, in their gallery space they exhibited "À Quatre Mains" with sculptor Nicolas Lefebvre and photographer Sara Imloul.

At La Mamounia, the gallery set up a group show including the works of the much-acclaimed photographer Denis Dailleux whose work we have come across numerous times at ParisPhoto and PhotoLondon.

Galerie 127 exhibited two exquisite prints of Dailleux, one from his series "Le Caire", the other from the intense series of "Mères et Fils / Mother & Son" paying tribute to all mothers. It is Dailleux's most personal and troubling work with modesty and delicacy. The pictures take you into the intimacy of families where the absolute love that son dedicates to his mother sounds like a universally touching ode. Dailleux photographed young Moroccan men coming back from the gym and posing with their mothers.

"Mères et Fils" by Denis Dailleux / Photo © Courtesy of Galerie 127

Born in 1958 in Angers, France, Dailleux is living and working in his beloved Cairo for over 10 years. "Le Caire" is a delicate, patiently constructed, a unique series of portraits from his everyday's life with black and whites of exemplary classicism and colours of rare subtlety, the definite alternative to the heaps of cultural and touristic clichés which clutter our minds.

"The seers, believing the hour had come, lifted their eyes towards the heavens and there saw al-Qâhir shining a brilliant crimson. This is how the capital of Egypt was named al-Qahira, the victorious, and its foundations became inseparable from space, light and the universe." Gamal al-Gitani, Khaled Osman.

"Le Caire" by Denis Dailleux / Photo © Courtesy of Galerie 127
"Le Caire" by Denis Dailleux / Photo © Courtesy of Galerie 127

"Imbued with his distinctive delicacy, Denis Dailleux's photographic work appears calm on the surface, yet is incredibly demanding, run through by an undercurrent of constant self-doubt and propelled by the essential personal bond he develops with those he frames with his camera.

His passion for people has naturally led him to develop portraiture as his preferred means of representing those whose true self he feels an urge to get closer to. Which he has, with actress Catherine Deneuve as well as with countless anonymous subjects from the slums of Cairo, working with the same discretion, waiting to get from his subjects what he is hoping they will offer him, without ever asking for it, simply hoping that it will happen."

Christian Caujolle, Agence VU


Zoltan Alexander talks to gallery owner Nathalie Locatelli of Galerie 127 (Marrakesh) about Denis Dailleux's photographic series "Mères et Fils" and "Le Caire".

Duration: 9min55"

Director: Zoltan Alexander

Featured Guest: Nathalie Locatelli of Galerie 127 / Marrakesh

Language: French / Français

Location: La Mamounia, Marrakesh

Video Edit & Music Arrangement: ZOLTAN+MEDIA London

Post-production: Victor Racz

Still Photography: Courtesy of Denis Dailleux

Music: Courtesy of El Sheikh Abdelbasit / SonoCairoMusic

سورة النساء كاملة - الشيخ عبد الباسط عبد الصمد (تلاوة نادرة

Resolution: HD full screen Stereo

Production: © ZOLTAN+MEDIA London

to be continued ...

à suivre ...




Photo-montage of Moroccan tea ceremony

/ Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA

"Histoires de Tripes 005" by Ghizlane Sahli

/ Photo © Courtesy of Ghizlane Sahli

Caire” by Denis Dailleux / Galerie 127

/ Photo © Courtesy of Denis Dailleux


Photo-montage of Moroccan tea ceremony

Waiter at Dar el Bacha Marrakesh

/ Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA


Photo-montage of Moroccan tea ceremony

/ Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA

Portrait of "Joel" by Omar Victor Diop / Galerie MAGNIN-A

/ Photo © Courtesy of Omar Victor Diop




La Mamounia Palace Avenue Bab Jdid, 40040 Marrakesh Morocco

/ 20-21 February 2020 / Invitation only - preview days

/ 22-23 February 2020 / Tickets free - open to the public


The Caldwell Factory 547 West 26th Street, 10001 New York, NY, USA

/ 7 May 2020 / Invitation only - preview day

/ 8 - 10 May 2020 - open to the public


Somerset House The Strand, WC2R 1LA London, UK

/ 7 October 2020 / Invitation only - preview day

/ 8 - 11 October 2020 - open to the public



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