My Story

mounir fatmi

I was born in Tangiers, Morocco, in 1970. When I was four, My family moved to Casablanca. At the age of 17, I traveled to Rome where he studied at the free school of nude drawing and engraving at the Academy of Arts, and then at the Casablanca art school, and finally at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam.

I spent most of my childhood at the flea market of Casabarata, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Tangiers, where my mother sold children’s clothes. Such an environment produces vast amounts of waste and worn-out common use objects. I considers now this childhood to have been my first form of artistic education, and I compares the flea market to a museum in ruin. This vision also serves as a metaphor and expresses the essential aspects of his work. Influenced by the idea of dead media and the collapse of the industrial and consumerist society, he develops a conception of the status of the artwork located somewhere between Archive and Archeology.

By using materials such as antenna cable, typewriters and VHS tapes, I elaborates an experimental archeology that questions the world and the role of the artist in a society in crisis. He twists its codes and precepts through the prism of a trinity comprising Architecture, Language and Machine. Thus, he questions the limits of memory, language and communication while reflecting upon these obsolescent materials and their uncertain future. My artistic research consists in a reflection upon the history of technology and its influence on popular culture. Consequently, one can also view mounir fatmi’s current works as future archives in the making. Though they represent key moments in our contemporary history, these technical materials also call into question the transmission of knowledge and the suggestive power of images and criticize the illusory mechanisms that bind us to technology and ideologies.

My work has been presented in numerous personal exhibits, at the Migros Museum, Zurich. MAMCO, Geneva. Picasso Museum La Guerre et la Paix, Vallauris. AK Bank Foundation, Istanbul. Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf and at the Gothenburg Konsthall. He also participated in several collective exhibits at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Brooklyn Museum, New York. Palais de Tokyo, Paris. MAXXI, Rome. Mori Art Museum, Tokyo. MMOMA, Moscow. Mathaf, Doha, Hayward Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, at Nasher Museum of Art, Durham and Louvre Abu Dhabi. I received several prizes, including the Uriöt prize, Amsterdam, the Grand Prix Léopold Sédar Senghor at the 7th Dakar Biennale in 2006, the Cairo Biennale Prize in 2010, as well as the Silver Plane Prize, Altai Biennale, Moscow in 2020.

Casabarata, 2023, Tanger

A black & white photographic project initiated in 1999, Casabarata is set in the famous Tangiers flea market, where mounir fatmi spent a large part of his childhood, and combines images of a wide variety of merchandise with portraits of customers and merchants.

Since 2000, My installations were selected in several biennials, the 52nd and 57th Venice Biennales, the 8th Sharjah Biennale, the 5th and 7th Dakar Biennales, the 2nd Seville Biennale, the 5th Gwangju Biennale, the 10th Lyon Biennale, the 5th Auckland Triennial, the 10th and 11th Bamako Biennales, the 7th Shenzhen Architecture Biennale, the Setouchi Triennial and the Echigo-Tsumari Triennial in Japan.

Everything Behind Me, 2018, Paris

The installation “Everything Behind Me” invites the viewers to a black table with an unusual aspect and size. Resting on evenly spaced feet, its long rectangular top is pierced in multiple points with holes of various diameters and several hundred meters of thick white coaxial cable run through them, bunched together with clamping collars. The cables run through the table, over and under its surface, and form a complex network of intertwined loops, their beginnings and ends joined together.

Peripheral Vision, 2017, Tokyo

Courtesy of the artist and Art Front Gallery, TokyoExhibition view from Peripheral Vision, Art Front Gallery, 2017, Tokyo


Born in Casabarata