RACHID KORAÏCHI: Celestial Blue
7 March – 13 April 2024
In accordance with Koraïchi’s predilection for the magical number 7 – considered significant in all the major traditions – Celestial Blue celebrates the artist’s 77th year. This exhibition includes canvas works interspersed with statuesque steel sculptures, in his characteristically figurative forms. The works on canvas are inspired by the nasibs that the 12th century Sufi mystic and writer, Ibn ‘Arabi, set down in his book of love poems, The Interpreter of Desires (1215). Each large, square canvas presents an original design produced in white on an indigo blue ground that improvises upon one of the original poems. Rather than being a direct translation, each work becomes a sustained reflection on the profundity of Ibn ‘Arabi’s original vision, offering a visual correlative to the ideas expressed in a modified, entirely contemporary form.
This outpouring of hand-painted ornamental forms allows Koraïchi to overlay modern concerns and commentary on the work of the Sufi mystic writer. Since no religious faith actively promotes genocide or the massacre of innocents, the ongoing atrocities in the Middle East today cannot be consciously condoned. For both Ibn ‘Arabi and Koraïchi, it seems self-evident that the so-called ‘Holy Land’ ought never be polluted by such outrages. Although originally from Andalucia, in Spain, Ibn ‘Arabi journeyed around the Middle East throughout his lifetime, eventually choosing to settle in Damascus as a revered master of the Sufi path. His writings transmit the unequivocal message of love for all others, without exception, as being the distinctive mark of evolved human beings. In the early 13th century, Ibn ‘Arabi wrote, ‘I practice the religion of love, wherever its camels turn their faces. / This is my religion and my faith.’
Celestial Blue continues Koraïchi’s unique exploration of the spiritual path and its fundamental message of Tolerance for all. His art reveals how ancient practices still have relevance today.