Mounir Fatmi is a Moroccan artist who lives and works in Paris. His multimedia practice encompasses video, installation, drawing, painting and sculpture. He works on obsolete materials and their uncertain futures, he criticizes the illusory mechanisms that bind humanity to technology, ideologies and their influences in a society in crisis. In 2006, he won the Uriöt prize, Amsterdam, the grand prize of the Dakar Biennial and the Cairo Biennial Award in 2010.
Mounir Fatmi was born in Tangiers, Morocco, in 1970. When he was four, his family moved to Casablanca. At the age of 17, he traveled to Rome where he studied at the free school of nude drawing and engraving at the Academy of Arts, and then at the Casablanca art school, and finally at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam.
He spent most of his childhood at the flea market of Casabarata, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Tangiers, where his mother sold children’s clothes. Such an environment produces vast amounts of waste and worn-out common use objects. The artist now considers this childhood to have been his first form of artistic education, and compares the flea market to a museum in ruin. This vision also serves as a metaphor and expresses the essential aspects of his work. Influenced by the idea of dead media and the collapse of the industrial and consumerist society, he develops a conception of the status of the artwork located somewhere between Archive and Archeology.
By using materials such as antenna cable, typewriters and VHS tapes, mounir fatmi elaborates an experimental archeology that questions the world and the role of the artist in a society in crisis. He twists its codes and precepts through the prism of a trinity comprising Architecture, Language and Machine. Thus, he questions the limits of memory, language and communication while reflecting upon these obsolescent materials and their uncertain future. mounir fatmi’s artistic research consists in a reflection upon the history of technology and its influence on popular culture. Consequently, one can also view mounir fatmi’s current works as future archives in the making. Though they represent key moments in our contemporary history, these technical materials also call into question the transmission of knowledge and the suggestive power of images and criticize the illusory mechanisms that bind us to technology and ideologies.
Since 2000, Mounir fatmi’s installations were selected in several biennials, the 52nd and 57th Venice Biennales, the 8th Sharjah Biennale, the 5th and 7th Dakar Biennales, the 2nd Seville Biennale, the 5th Gwangju Biennale, the 10th Lyon Biennale, the 5th Auckland Triennial, the 10th and 11th Bamako Biennales, the 7th Shenzhen Architecture Biennale, the Setouchi Triennial and the Echigo-Tsumari Triennial in Japan. His work has been presented in numerous personal exhibits, at the Migros Museum, Zurich. MAMCO, Geneva. Picasso Museum La Guerre et la Paix, Vallauris. AK Bank Foundation, Istanbul. Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf and at the Gothenburg Konsthall. He also participated in several collective exhibits at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Brooklyn Museum, New York. Palais de Tokyo, Paris. MAXXI, Rome. Mori Art Museum, Tokyo. MMOMA, Moscow. Mathaf, Doha, Hayward Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, at Nasher Museum of Art, Durham and Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
The White Matter, Galerie Ceysson & Bénétière, Paris
The Process, Wilde Gallery, Geneva
180° Behind Me, Göteborgs Konsthall, Göteborg
The Human Factor, Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, Tokyo
This is My Body , Analix Forever , Geneva
Holy Water, Galerie de Multiples, Paris
This is My Body, Art Bärtschi & Cie, Geneva
The Day of the Awakening, CDAN Museum – Centro de Arte Y Naturaleza, Huesca
Peripheral Vision, Art Front Gallery, Tokyo
Survival Signs, Jane Lombard Gallery, New York
Fragmented Memory, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
(IM)possible Union, Analix Forever, Geneva
Under the Skin, Maisons des Arts du Grütli, Geneva
Ghosting, Galerie De Multiples, Paris
Darkening Process, Analix Forever, Geneva
Inside the Fire Circle, Lawrie Shabibi , Dubaï
Transition State, Officine dell’Immagine, Milano
Le Pavillon de l’exil, Galerie Delacroix, Tangier
Depth of Field, Labanque, Béthune
A Savage Mind, Keitelman Gallery, Brussels
The Index and The marchine, ADN Platform, San Cugat del Vallès
Darkening Process, MMP+, Marrakech, Morocco
Permanent Exiles, MAMCO, Geneva
Modern Times, Miami Beach Urban Studios Gallery – Florida International University, Miami Beach
Constructing Illusion, Analix Forever, Geneva
History is not mine, Metavilla, Bordeaux
Art et Patrimoine: C’est encore la nuit, Prison Qara – Institut Français de Meknès, Morroco