July 9, 2019 - Kunsthalle Mainz - Latifa Echakhch: Liberty and Tree
July 9, 2019

Kunsthalle Mainz

Latifa Echakhch, Platanus Hispanica, 2019. Fabric, color. Photo: Daniele Molajoli. Courtesy of the artist.

Latifa Echakhch
Liberty and Tree
July 12–October 20, 2019

Opening: July 11, 7–10pm

Kunsthalle Mainz
Am Zollhafen 3-5
55118 Mainz
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 10am–6pm,
Wednesday 10am–9pm,
Saturday–Sunday 11am–6pm

T +49 6131 126936
F +49 6131 126937

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The artist Latifa Echakhch is well known for her site-specific installations and interventions. Her works invariably relate to wherever they are being exhibited, specifically to the architecture and local roots. Referring to the formal idioms of Minimal art and Concrete art, she links these to materials such as ink or yarn, and to objects such as books, photographs or mussels, weaving them into her narratives along the way. Latifa Echakhch’s unique feeling for materials is bound up with social-political content and issues concerning cultural roots, the consequences of migration and the significance of revolutions.

The artist was born in Morocco and spent her early childhood there. She then emigrated to France with her parents, where she was confronted with strong cultural differences. The feeling of being uprooted, of being unaware of foreign customs or codes of conduct, the multitude of unfamiliar everyday items—all these shaped Latifa Echakhch, awakening within her a sensitivity for encounters with other cultures. Today the artist lives in Paris and francophone Switzerland, and is particularly interested not only in traversing the boundaries between countries and cultures, between different “homelands,” but also in the resulting scars at the points where they meet. By looking at stereotypes, linguistic codes, and mechanisms for inclusion and exclusion, she addresses the application and processes of national symbols in an age of globalisation. She casts looks at the “other,” and at national and religious identities, reflecting current debates about integration, freedom of religion, the symbolic basis of politics, and political revolts. With minimal use of materials and gestures she lets materials and objects tell their own stories, in the process developing three dimensional, sensual scenarios.

Liberty and Tree in Kunsthalle Mainz is inspired by the Liberty Tree, a symbol used throughout the French Revolution as well as during the brief existence of the Republic of Mainz. Made mostly of black poplar here, liberty trees were erected as a symbol of freedom and liberation. But more than that, they provided a venue where revolutionaries could meet, where they would dance with each other and sing revolutionary songs. While they initially represented liberty, over the course of time they came to stand for protests against social grievances, economic inequality and societal oppression. Latifa Echakhch uses a range of means and diverse objects and materials to address the meaning of “revolution” in Liberty and Tree. In taking a look at history she brings it to life, indeed conjures it up, yet refrains from glorifying it. The French Revolution forms the starting point for exploring the issue of contemporary revolutions as well as their sustainability and meaningfulness.

Latifa Echakhch’s exhibition in Kunsthalle Mainz brings together the artist’s current occupation with landscape and history, as well as the stage and human beings as a hybrid of past and contemporary developments. She integrates painting, sculpture, video and installation to create a walk-in stage setting resembling a park. In doing so she connects various reference systems, links key moments in European history with recent political developments around the world, and makes the move from the personal to the collective sphere.

Curatey by Stefanie Böttcher
Curatorial Assistant: Lina Louisa Krämer


Related Programme (selection)

July 24, 7pm
Fade into You: Video Screening Series

August 8, 7pm
Behind the scenes
Exhibition tour and talk with Lina Louisa Krämer and Yana Prinsloo (Institut für Film-, Theater-, Medien- und Kulturwissenschaft, JGU Mainz)

August 18 & October 13, 3pm
Interactive guided tour with Malin Nagel, Yana Prinsloo and Dr. Annika Wehrle

September 11, 7pm
ShortCuts #8 - Kunst Macht Film: Open Air Shortfilm Screening

October 16, 7pm
Artist talk with Latifa Echakhch and Stefanie Böttcher


Press inquiries:
Laura Günther, guenther [​at​] kunsthall-mainz.de

The exhibition is kindly supported by Bureau des arts plastiques - Institut français, Ministry of Culture France, Kulturstiftung Rheinland-Pfalz and Pro Helvetia.

Kunsthalle Mainz
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Liberty and Tree
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