My Encounter with Hassan Hajjaj, by Capucine Vergez
SOURCE: THE EYE PHOTOGRAPHY
BY: CAPUCINE VERGEZ
Her name is Capucine Vergez, she is the daughter of our collaborator Agnès Vergez. Capucine is passionate about photographer Hassan Hajjaj work to whom the European House dedicates a great retrospective. Last Tuesday, it was the vernissage, so Capucine skipped classes to meet him. She tells us.
I chased after his works during my five months studies in Rabat ….
I saw for the first time one or two images of Hassan Hajjaj in the basement of a souk. “What a contrast, between these photos, and what was outside! ” I told myself…
I tried to find an exhibition where I could find his works but no luck, I arrived when the museum was under renovation …
It was in fact thanks to Madonna’s super instagrammed shooting, and the cover of New York Magazine with Cardi B, that I first saw his photos.
So when I heard that he would be exhibiting for the first time at the MEP in Paris, I did not hesitate to skip my Tuesday morning class to discover his work. And I did well not to hesitate!
Today no super stars, just ordinary Moroccan men and women.
Right away, I was immersed in a sparkling, offbeat, explosive atmosphere. The colors explode in your face, sparkle, and it feels good. The mix of materials, colors and prints is obvious. The outfits of both men and women are striking, young, stylish. I love this free universe, without complex, and that is almost ironic.
Everything is clashing, the energy is overflowing. The fabrics and patterns are heavily loaded, super kitsch, almost tacky and yet on these pictures they seem cool and trendy. It’s not only fashion, not only contemporary art or street art, it’s all at once.
The photos here are approached differently. Provocation is the word that immediately comes to mind. “Do Arab women have the right to … behave like that / ask that way / wear that / ride a motorcycle …” that’s what I asked myself. Hassan Hajjaj has precisely played with the religious and daily objects of Arab culture: the hijab, very present and modernized to its maximum by playing with the monograms of big luxury brand, the objects of large consumerism: the cans, the harissa , Lego diverted in a pop art style … It is the confrontation of two atmospheres: traditional and ultra modern. A breath of fresh air on traditional representations of the Arab world.
A woman on a motorcycle, I’ve never seen in 6 months in all of Morocco, a gang of Moroccan women who looks like a band of American rappers, even less!
Through these works, I have the impression of thinking outside the box.
This is a message I can understand: Moroccan women are veiled but / and stylish. Moroccan women also know how to pose. No, it’s not just the Kardashian / Jenner who can be in front of a goal. No need to be tall, thin, to enter the boxes. And that’s why I appreciate these photos so much. I like the idea of the confrontation of cultures.
We admire something else, other faces, and we realize that fashion is just as beautiful when one is not naked, when it is not Western!