HAMID EL KANBOUHI - La Vache Qui Rit

16.03.2012 - 03.06.2012

This spring De Hallen Haarlem presented La Vache Qui Rit, a solo exhibition by Dutch-Moroccan artist Hamid el Kanbouhi. In 2011 he concluded his residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam with his performance and room filling installation Casting. His new project La Vache Qui Rit is again a ‘performative’ installation, custom made for the exhibition space. La Vache Qui Rit was on view from 16 March until 3 June 2012. This exhibition coincided with a show of video-installations by Charles Atlas and a presentation of recent acquisitions by De Hallen Haarlem.

Drawing constitutes the basis of Hamid el Kanbouhi’s (Larache, Morocco, 1976) practice as an artist. Whether making clay sculptures or a painting, the point of departure is always a sketch or a drawing. Sometimes the drawings are works onto themselves; in other cases they form part of an installation, like in La Vache Qui Rit. The installation that Hamid el Kanbouhi has especially created for De Hallen Haarlem will exist of works on paper and sculptural elements that combine into a room filling work. At various moments during the exhibition the installation will double as a performance site.

Method of working

Hamid el Kanbouhi draws inspiration from everyday situations and strange encounters and subsequently transforms the persons he met or the events he witnessed into images. El Kanbouhi sometimes even invites people he happens to meet to participate in his performances. Chance, playfulness and an ongoing search for unbeaten paths are at the core of his working method.

Earlier work: Casting

In his so-called ‘performative installations’ the artist trifles with the viewer. In his final presentation at the Rijksakademie in 2011 El Kanbouhi challenged his audience by reversing roles: not the work, but the audience was to be judged. Visitors to his installation Casting were assessed out loud on their physical appearance by a three-headed jury. In this way the visitor’s critical gaze was met by the possibly similar discerning look of the jury members. The installation with large paintings and drawings of nuns, Muslim women, pin-ups, bodypainted models and immigrants challenged the viewer to reflect on this strange meltingpot of different worlds and cultures. 

Comics Festival Haarlem

The 11th edition of the Comics Festival Haarlem (Stripdagen Haarlem) took place from 1 to 3 June 2012. The Comics Festival Haarlem started in 1992 and is organised biennially by the Beeldverhaal Nederland Foundation. As part of the festival De Hallen Haarlem hosted a special event under the name of De Hallen Extra on the evening of Thursday 31 May: a performance to accompany La Vache Qui Rit.

Photography: Gert Jan van Rooij

Download the exhibition guide