Rachid Koraichi began his studies at the École des Beaux-Arts in Algeria before moving to France, where he continued his studies at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, the Institut d'Urbanisme, and the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Koraichi's influences come from North Africa and France, although he is interested in ideas of shared prehistoric inheritance, and the ways in which the language of art can be universal and carry a global outlook. While Koraichi is deeply tied to mystic and visual traditions and draws from the spiritual and artisinal heritage of the Maghreb, in his artwork these ideas and systems of communication are reworked to become part of a new artistic project.
Koraichi comes from a Sufi family from Algeria, and his art is often framed within a tradition of Sufi spirituality in which aesthetics and metaphysics are intertwined. Writing and signs, for Koraichi, hold sacred importance, and calligraphy is often a significant backbone of his work. Drawing from Arabic calligraphy, Koraichi has created in some ways his own script or graphic language that includes Amazighi and Tuareg letters and mystical symbols. This calligraphy is sometimes legible but often is abstracted with thick repetitions, becoming signs or figures. He has had a long-standing interest in the Sufi poet and scholar Rumi, whose work inspired multiple installations of Koraichi's long-term project "The Path of Roses" (Le Chemin de Roses). His work ranges from mystical, abstract works to direct political commentary in dialogue with revolutionary and liberation movements, as in a number of works supporting Palestine and the Palestinian people. Koraichi's diverse oeuvre encompasses a wide range of artistic expression, from intimate prints to large-scale banners and installations. He works in varied media, including printmaking, paint, ceramics, and textiles.
Beyond Koraichi's personal work, collaborations with writers and poets have been an important part of his oeuvre, as with Mohammed Dib, Jamel Eddine Bencheikh, René Char, Michel Butor. He notably collaborated with Mahmoud Darwish on the large scale project of poems and etchings A Nation in Exile (1981). A number of Koraichi's works have also been executed in collaboration with North African artisans trained in traditional techniques, as in dyeing, weaving, or pottery. This collaborative work can be seen in the date-palm plantation in the Algerian Sahara that Koraichi has been developing since 2011. This plantation, conceived of as a kind of large-scale land art, will be ecologically sustainable and devoted to regional culture.
Koraichi has exhibited widely internationally, for instance at the 47th and 49th Venice Biennials (1997 and 2001), "Global Conceptualism," The Queens Museum of Art, New York, 1999; "The Short Century," Munich, Berlin, Chicago, and New York, 2001-2; "Word Into Art," The British Museum, London, 2006; and "The Future of Tradition – The Tradition of Future," Haus der Kunst, Munich, 2010. He has had a number of solo shows, such as the Emirates Palace Auditorium, Abu Dhabi Festival, Abu Dhabi, 2011; the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell Unversity, Ithaca, New York; Chapelle Saint Martin, Le Mejan, Arles; La Citadelle, Algiers; and Darat al Funun, Amman. He also created a stained-glass window for the Chapelle Sainte-Cécile, Ceillac, France, and has provided illustrations for a number of publications by writers such as Mahmoud Darwish and Rumi. In 2011, Koraichi won the Victoria & Albert Museum's Jameel Prize, an international prize for contemporary artists inspired by Islamic traditions of craft and design. Koraichi's work is held in a number of major public collections, including the British Museum, London; the National Museum for African Art, Washington, D.C.; the Musée d'art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris; and Darat al Funun/The Khalid Shoman Foundation, Amman.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
|2001||Le Chemin de roses, Institut Francais de Casablanca et de Marrakech, Morocco|
|1997 - 2000||L'Enfant Jazz, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France; Studio Franck Bordas, Paris, France; County Centre for Educational Documentation, Avignon, France; College des Hautes Vallées, Guillestre, France; Sakakini Foundation, Ramallah, Palestine; Passage Gallery, Marseille, France|
|1999||Lettres d'Argile: Hommage à Ibn Arabi, Galerie Isma, Algeria|
|1998||Lettres d'Argile: Hommage à Ibn Arabi, Espace Gard, Nimes; Darat al Funun, Amman; Medersa Mustansirya, Baghdad; Centre Culturel Francais, Damscus; Ribat de Sousse, Tunis|
Selected Group Exhibitions
|2010||The Future of Tradition – The Tradition of Future, Haus der Kunst, Munich|
|2006 ||Word Into Art, The British Museum, London, United Kingdom|
|2001||Unpacking Europe, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands|
|_____||The Short Century, Munich, Berlin, Chicago, New York, United States of America|
|1999||Global Conceptualism, The Queens Museum of Art, New York, United States of America |
|1997||Modernities and Memories, Venice Biennial, Italy|
Selected Awards and Honors
|2011||Jameel Prize, Victoria & Albert Museum, London |
Algeria, Jameel Prize, Collaboration, Sufism, Palestine.
Aziz, Plus. "Renowned Artist Rachid Koraïchi and his Vision for Middle Eastern and North African Arts." Khaleejesque. 13 November 2011. Accessed December 12, 2013. http://www.khaleejesque.com/2011/11/art-design/renowned-artist-rachid-koraichi-and-his-vision-for-middle-eastern-and-north-african-arts/.
Hassan, Salah, and Ifitkhar Dadi, eds. Unpacking Europe. Rotterdam: NAi Publisher, 2001.
Lostia, Maryline. "Rachid Koraïchi: A Celestial Architecture." Nafas Art Magazine, March 2003. Accessed May 13, 2014. http://universes-in universe.org/eng/nafas/articles/2003/rachid_koraichi.
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