Les Albatros Hero Image

Latifa Echakhch

Les Albatros

On View
Jun 28 – Aug 17, 2024

Latifa Echakhch
Les Albatros
Jun 28 – Aug 17, 2024


267 Itaewon-ro


Press Release (ENG)


(opens in a new window) @latifa_echa
(opens in a new window) @pacegallery

Above: Latifa Echakhch, L'Albatros, 2024 © Latifa Echakhch
Pace is pleased to present Les Albatros, the first solo exhibition of works by Latifa Echakhch in Asia, and her second-ever with Pace, running from June 28 to August 17.

Echakhch’s presentation will feature five new paintings that explore the question: What does it mean to paint a landscape in our times? Les Albatros will be staged on the gallery’s ground floor, which will be transformed into an immersive installation space. The unstretched and draped canvases, shown only on the verso, will interact with these surroundings to complicate the boundaries between interiority and exteriority, and nature and artifice.

Known for a practice that incorporates painting, sculpture, and sound into site-specific interventions, Latifa Echakhch explores issues of power and socio-political realities by interrogating their representative symbols and structures. The motif of the landscape—which, throughout the history of art, has served as a carrier of iconographic and allegorical meaning—is a common starting point for Echakhch. Following a line of enquiry into landscape and society, previously realized in her exhibitions Le Jardin Mécanique at Nouveau Musée National de Monaco – Villa Sauber in 2018, Romance at Fondazione Memmo, and Liberty and Tree at Kunsthalle Mainz, both in 2019, Echakhch’s new works aim to examine “the precise position of the artist in front of the world.”

The alienation of the modern artist is a central theme of the 1841 poem ‘L’Albatros’ by Charles Baudelaire, after which this exhibition is titled. In Baudelaire’s poem, the albatross faces mistreatment and ridicule at the hands of sailors who fail to appreciate the bird's majesty. Echakhch’s reading of Baudelaire’s text finds both symbolic and formal resonance with the paintings she has created for the exhibition in Seoul. Like the albatross snared from the sky onto the ship’s decks, Echakhch has untethered her paintings from their stretchers and draped them, evoking the heavy, loafing wings of the bird on land.

The visual inspiration behind the works that form Les Albatros came from mature Virginia Oak trees the artist first saw during a recent visit to Houston, Texas. Unable to bear the weight of their own growth, the aging branches of these trees sweep down toward the ground before rising again. To distance the constructed pictorial landscape from the Virginia Oak trees that inspired them, Echakhch improvised her branches from a range of reference images, using loose, gestural movements and the techniques of automatic drawing. Characteristic of Echakhch’s oeuvre is an economy of style; the paintings in Les Albatros are simplified, minimally abstracted scenes that exist within the immediate visual register of landscape representation.

Echakhch upends the viewers’ expectations of the artistic landscape by almost entirely concealing the trees she has depicted. Instead, we are confronted with the verso of these canvases, which the artist has painted an uneven stage black. Echakhch’s deinstallation of the evidence of her artistic labor may suggest a psychoanalytic reading of her painted trees. Yet, as with much of the artist’s oeuvre, the personal is transmuted to the collective sphere through subtle shifts of meaning and reference points. The staging of Les Albatros is informed by the artist’s personal disbelief in an apolitical, purely contemplative landscape. By deconstructing the visual signifiers of the landscape and recontextualizing the motif to encompass the totality of the gallery space, Echakhch invites the viewer to question their own understanding of—and position in front of—the world.

Latifa Portrait

About the Artist

Latifa Echakhch lives and works in Vevey, Switzerland. Driven by the necessity to counter certain prejudices, contradictions, and stereotypes in our society, she isolates and questions materials that symbolize these phenomena.

Learn More