° Morocco 1986

lives and works in Brussels — Belgium


Younes Baba-Ali participated at Coup de Ville 2016. This text was published in the catalogue.


Younes Baba-Ali works alternately in Brussels and Casablanca and produces art that is critical and humorously subversive. Baba-Ali is a lively observer and poses pertinent questions from simple standpoints that define his operating method and choice of medium. Photography, audio, video, installation or performance are all employed according to the level of communication or type of impact he wants to achieve. Although not afraid of classical art spaces, he usually prefers public areas. Key words in his artistic vocabulary are concepts such as: information, communication, migration, integration and assimilation. Like the philosophers Jean Baudrillard and Paul Virilio, Baba-Ali takes the view that different social changes are due to technological developments. Specifically, this is revealed in his public installation ‘Paraboles’, which after previous presentations he returns to in a new variation  for Coup de Ville. At a time when the internet is thriving, the famous dish antennae seem to have become almost archaeological artefacts. For the artist, they remain more symbols of the pressure to broaden the horizon, keeping in touch with the basics. After the installation, there was criticism contained in the rigidity of the orientation: they are turned towards the holy centre of Mecca. In this way a strictly limited mechanical ballet was performed, while in the country of origin greater choices often existed.


In contrast to this, the artist presents the longing of the migrant to absorb the customs and identity of a host country, in a quartet of portraits. This gave rise to a comprehensive series of photographs in Italy, where the protagonists wear national symbols or simply the name of the host country on their clothes.


During the exhibition, ‘Vu’ cumpra?’ will be performed a number of times. While encased in a metres high construction, with various inflatable boats, swimming pools and dolphins, the performer floats through the town centre, with only their feet visible to the public. This work was inspired by the daily life of illegal street sellers observed by Baba-Ali in Southern Europe. Vu’ cumpra? Do you want to buy? Younes Baba-Ali opens up the dialogue.