From styling and framing Madonna to the Henna girls of Marrakesh, Moroccan-born, part UK-raised Hassan Hajjaj has brought his photography and interactive installation works to such acclaim that his signature style is immediately recognisable. Since 1989, Hajjaj has been blending elements of pop culture, street fashion, and Maghrebi bazaar chic with elements of design and interiors to create a look that seeps from the image to the frame, from the furniture to cinema.
The film Hassan Hajjaj: My Rock Stars (2016) is now in the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum) collection, and features animated tableaus of his usually silent models playing instruments, rapping, or speaking. It is as if Hajjaj has created his own panopticon of trailblazers, all set to overturn art-history’s traditional Euro-centric, class-based narrative. And by documenting what’s happening with brands in his Moroccan culture, Hajjaj has created an alternative brand, one of a community of ‘others’, seeking self expression and relative freedom. “I had to find my own village, in London.” My Rock Stars was exhibited at the Memphis Brooks Museum in 2016.
In this episode of the FOLIO podcast, Fari Bradley speaks with Hajjaj about his upcoming at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP) in Paris, and how music and ethnicity play such central roles in his work.
La Maison Marocaine de la Photographie. Carte Blanche a Hassan Hajjaj runs at MEP from 11 September - 17 November 2019.