RACHID KORAÏCHI: Les Maîtres du Temps (Masters of Time)
Born in Ain Beida, Algeria, in 1947, Rachid now lives and works in Tunisia and France. He studied at the Institute of Fine Arts and École supérieure des beaux-arts in Algiers, before continuing his studies in Paris at the École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs, the Institut d’urbanisme and L'École supérieure des beaux-arts in Paris.
Rachid Koraïchi’s impressive oeuvre includes large installations, ceramics, sculptures, textiles and works on canvas and paper. For Koraïchi, art represents an ancient pathway into the unknown. Signs and symbols from civilisation’s oldest languages are deconstructed and abstracted in the artist’s work to elaborate a personal visual vocabulary.
In this new series, Koraïchi explores our connections to the earth as source of life. The works comprise of white on blue canvases (entitled Les osties bleues - a reference to sacramental bread, used as part of Christian worship) which complement blue on white square ceramics (created by Koraïchi with a specialised atelier in Barcelona). Koraïchi continues to use this minimal palette, at times overlain with black figures, to emphasise the graphic power of his inscriptions.
Through these pieces, Koraïchi further explores the ethereal qualities of the colour blue. In the book, Eternity is the Absence of Time, Koraïchi described blue as ‘’always connected with the heavens, (it) is the colour of invisibility,…a strange notion – perhaps – but if you look at the sea – it’s blue! Yet, cup a handful of sea-water in your hand and the blue is gone!’’* At the other pole, and central to the formal core of Koraïchi’s latest installation, lies the earth: the elemental material giving clay fired as pottery and the original matrix providing the cotton used to make his canvas.
Rachid Koraïchi’s work is represented in major public collections, including the British Museum, London, UK; the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, New York, USA; the Newark Museum, Newark, USA; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France; Museum of Modern Art, Cairo, Egypt; the National Museum Gallery, Amman, Jordan; the Miami Art Museum, Miami, USA and the Smithsonian, National Museum of African Art, Washington D.C., USA.
In 2011, Rachid Koraïchi won the prestigious Jameel Prize at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, exhibiting seven large-scale banners from The Invisible Masters series.
The Guggenheim, Abu Dhabi acquired the installation of Rachid Koraïchi’s Path of Roses (1995-2005) a monumental celebration of Sufi mystic and poet Jalā al-Dīn al- Rūmī’s physical and spiritual journey of enlightenment across Asia, Middle East and Arabia in the 13th century.