09 October - 27 November 2015
Achraf Touloub (b. 1986 in Casablanca) develops painstaking work based on the interweaving of notions of tradition and globalization. Symbolic and narrative strategies derived from traditional thought are employed in experiments that produce, in drawing, sculpture and video, elaborate images of the contemporary. His practice insists on the complicity between symbolic power of tradition and technological society, invested with equal systemic capacities to shape the global. The works contend that the conventional binary that opposes tradition and technology is in fact a movement of convergence.
The interest for both - the increasingly de-materialized technology in the highly connected neo-liberal democracies and the revival of traditional ideology and its instrumentalization in the West, re-articulates the ‘symbolic’ as the real territory of confrontation. This area can be demarcated, with René Guenon’s words, as: “le domaine du subtile / the domain of subtle”.
Achraf Touloub’s work is often premised on the idea of paradox: one of the questions today is the reactivation of the metaphysical by the decrease of the physical aspect in our navigation of reality (achieved primarily through communication technologies and the speculative dimension of value). The notion of globalism, in its profound definition, is thought through in his practice like a guiding principle. One of his long-term project dealing with Persian miniatures protocols of representation reveal his aspiration to use symbolic process in a pragmatic way for developing images today. This paradox articulates itself on the use of archaic dimension of image as an expression of the global mind. Touloub’s works responds to conventional scholarship in 20th century in Europe, whose goal was to anchor Western nationhood with a reinvented notion of tradition, of the primordial. If a new traditional mind did emerge through our progressively dense informational networks, this should not be misunderstood as a return – of the forgotten of or the repressed -, but as the paradoxical consequence of the materialistic and technologic-visual approach.
Achraf Touloub graduated at École des Beaux-Arts, Paris in 2013. His works have already found a place in important collections like the Deutsche Bank collection,FMAC Paris,the Barjeel Art Foundation, La Maison Rouge,Paris, Le college des Bernardins,Paris among others. In 2011 he was awarded the prestigious Le prix des Amis des Beaux Arts. Recent shows include ‘Standard condition’,2015 at Albert Baronian,Brussels and Latent,2014 at Gallery Plan-B,Berlin The artist lives and works in Paris.