Focus on Azemmour by Hicham Benohoud

16 - 31 December 2020

Morocco is the main source of inspiration for the artist Hicham Benohoud. Throughout his poetic and dreamlike vision, he takes us on a journey that goes from the inside of domestic houses all the way through desert edges. Today, we invite you to discover the town of Azemmour, through the eponymous artist’s series.

  • Located 16 km north of El Jadida and 72 km southwest of Casablanca, at the mouth of the river Oum Errabiaa, Azemmour could be a perfect touristic city with a glorious past. Established on the ancient city of Azama, it was occupied by the Phoenicians before falling under the power of the Carthaginians, hence the Romans, period during which Azemmour experienced a lot of prosperity.


    This series is the result of a public commission aimed to enhace this Moroccan city with its little-known heritage. However, rather than dwelling on the ancient monuments, the artist has chosen to immortalize the children of the city. Carelessness childhood!


    The artist explains that each of his images is thought well in advance.

  • 'I'm not a fan of snapshots. My stagings are the fruit of several months or even years of gestation. I...

    Azemmour, 2007 (détail)

    "I'm not a fan of snapshots. My stagings are the fruit of several months or even years of gestation. I draw sketches, I work on them again and again. That's where the session begins. During the shooting, there is no room for improvisation while on the other hand, everything is allowed during the preparatory drawings ".

  • As in his previous series, La salle de classe, the artist uses black and white and creates the staging site to serve his purpose in Azemmour. Surprising, quirky, sometimes zany or dreamlike, the clichés bring together the elements of the reality in unexpected ways, in unusual situations: what seems familiar and ordinary to us, can suddenly become strange and enigmatic. A child stares at us. Permanently. A branch of thorns floats above his body. A little girl is standing with her arms folded, two empty water bottles are levitating on either side of her face. With their lips pinched by a nylon thread, the two kids smile, inescapably, just like the child whose face is hiden by a caning made of elastic, making him invisible...



    Without trick, with whatever he can find, some bits of nothing, the artist tinkers mental, interiors, almost surrealist worlds which suggest his vision of the world.

  • 'In my work, I don't guide the public in a particular direction. I leave them free to make their own...

    Azemmour, 2007 (détail)

    "In my work, I don't guide the public in a particular direction. I leave them  free to make their own interpretations. Even when I talk about Azemmour..., you can't see the city, all the scenes take place in a wasteland or in places that are not recognizable".

  • Thus, Hicham Benohoud, defines his artistic approach to be the same as the one used by the painter Pierre Soulages when talking about his painting: "To paint is to give meaning to life. To one’s own first, then, if possible, to the viewer. My paintings are poetic items capable of receiving what people is ready to put inside them, from the set of forms and colors that are proposed to them...My painting is a space for questioning and meditating where the senses can go back and forth. At the end of the day, the work lives from the glance that one brings to it. It is not limited to what it is, nor to whom has produced it, it is also made of the one who looks at it. I ask nothing from the viewer, I just offer him a painting: he is the only free and necessarily interpreter."