Mohamed El Baz
Sound Installation

French Song and Hymns are two musical sound pieces that both question, using recognizable tunes, the concepts of belonging and appropriation. The first comprises excerpts from popular French songs sung a cappella by a woman’s voice. For a French person, these songs project the listen- er into an entire space-time made of memories, to a certain period in time, a form of cultural identity; but do they mean anything to a foreigner? Must one understand, or at least be familiar with, Bourvil’s “Le Bal Perdu”, Edith Piaf’s “La vie en Rose”, Alain Souchon or France Gall in order to feel French or to grasp what the French spirit is all about? In Hymns, several national anthems are played on the guitar, which the viewer can attempt to identify. The anthem, the sonic equivalent to the flag, is an allegory crystallizing the symbolic representation of a nation and national identity. Consolidating the community spirit within the country, fostering a feeling of cohesion and belonging while reinforcing its image in terms of identity in the eyes of the rest of the world. Must we forget the anthem of the country we leave and learn the one of the country in which we settle? Is knowing and recognizing this air a sign of one’s desire to integrate?

About the artist

Born in 1967 in El Ksiba, Morocco. Mohamed El baz graduated from the l’Ecole Régionale d’Art (Regional School of Fine Art) Dunkirk in 1989. In 1992, he obtained a DNSEP (Diplôme National Supérieur d’Expression Plastique, .diploma in visual arts) from the ENSA ( École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts de Paris Cergy) in Cergy. He also took classes at IHEAP in Paris (Institut des Hautes Études en Arts Plastiques (1988-1994), founded in 1985 by Pontus Hulten with Daniel Buren and Sarkis. Mohamed El baz lives and works in Casablanca , Morocco and Lille, France. Since 1993, Mohamed El baz has been creating a work entitled “Bricoler l’incurable”( Mending the incurable). His leitmotiv provides him with an ongoing, never ending and always controversial installations; as components or “details” find a place and adapt to each new concept. His work has three orientations through which Mohamed El baz crosses boundaries and categories : daily , autobiographical and playful ; the work itself becomes mobile and turns into a different story. Mohamed El baz questions the notions of borders and territories and all that works to erect barriers between people.

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Courtesy: the artist