Lalla Essaydi (Moroccan, b. 1956)
Lots are subject to 5% import Duty on the importat… Read more PROPERTY SOLD TO BENEFIT THE ARTIST'S UPCOMING MONOGRAPH
Lalla Essaydi (Moroccan, b. 1956)

Dancer Triptych (#8, #10, #12)

Lalla Essaydi (Moroccan, b. 1956)
Dancer Triptych (#8, #10, #12)
signed 'Lalla Essaydi' (on a label affixed to the reverse)
chromogenic print mounted on aluminium, in three parts
each: 40 x 30in. (101.6 x 76.2cm.);
overall: 40 x 90in. (101.5 x 228.6cm.)
Executed in 2009, this work is number fifteen from an edition of fifteen (3)
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Lot Essay

Using the medium of photography, Moroccan born artist Lalla Essaydi confronts deeply entrenched historical notions about the female identity and womanhood within the context of the Islamic world. Challenging expectations found in historical representations, mainly in 19th century Orientalist painting, she interrogates the concept of the other, deconstructing fantastical preconceptions of the Middle East, women and their social surroundings.
Christie's is delighted and honoured to be offering the present lot from the artist's celebrated series Les Femmes du Maroc, to raise funds towards her upcoming monograph in collaboration with the famous publishing house, ACR edition.

The title of the series is a modification of Les Femmes d'Algers, a painting by the French Romantic artist Eugène Delacroix. Expanding on her previous work, Essaydi thus critiques and confronts historical preconceptions of the Arab woman, decontextualising them from the fetishistic, sexually charged fantasies of the 'Western' eye.
Set within an unoccupied space and devoid of any contextual significance, Essaydi explores the imaginary boundaries codified by traditional Muslim society. As a Moroccan born woman, raised in Saudi Arabia and currently residing in New York, Essaydi addresses the complex reality of the Arab female identity from a personal perspective; she finds herself caught between the past and the present much like the models she has carefully placed within her detailed compositions.

In a small act of defiance, Essaydi intricately and expressively inscribes calligraphy text across the costumes, background and skin of her models (every space is covered, no area is left untouched) and in doing so, she engages in a defiant form of self-expression; calligraphy traditionally being reserved exclusively for men. She thus challenges the viewer to reconsider the notion of men versus women; yet her words form a thin veil that conceals what lies subversively underneath a suggestion of the complexity of the Arab female identity, the
tension between hierarchy and volatility that are at the heart of Arab culture.

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