About The Work
The humble handkerchief of today is considered little more than a utilitarian object of small worth, and often replaced by a disposable paper “tissue.” During the Renaissance period, however, the handkerchief represented a stylish symbol of personal prestige, denoting elegant manners if not aristocratic refinement. The handkerchief’s significance became further reinforced in many theatrical traditions. The revered Egyptian singer, Umm Kulthum, always held a signature handkerchief when performing onstage, while the tragedy of Shakespeare’s Othello hinges on his love-gift to Desdemona of a strawberry embroidered handkerchief woven with “magic in the web of it.”
In these elaborately configured painted squares, Rachid Koraïchi, makes reference to the hidden histories of emotional outpourings that attach to these intimate yet mute accessories. As inseparable companions kept close to the hearts of men and women alike, they become charmed tissues chronicling the transports of joy and sorrow and recording the passions of desire and despair experienced over the course of their owner’s entire life. These seven linked works operate as singular records embroidered with secret signs and hidden keys. Each evokes the faint scent of their owner’s individual perfume, while together they incorporate and encode numerological mysteries associated with the magical prime number 7 and its combinatory elements of 3 and 4.
Born in 1947 in Ain Beida, Algeria, Rachid Koraichi lives and works between Tunisia and France. He studied at the Institute of Fine Arts and the Superior National School of the Arts in Algeria, before moving to France to continue his further studies at the National School of Decorative Arts and the School of Urban Studies in Paris. Koraichi’s sculptural explorations extend across an impressive range of different media, with his installations including ceramics, textiles, various metals and painted work on silk, paper or canvas. Beginning with the intricate beauties of the Arabic calligraphic scripts his work is composed of symbols, glyphs and ciphers drawn from a wide variety of other languages and cultures. Rachid Koraichi was included in the international touring exhibition Short Century, and in the 47th and 49th Venice Biennale, and in Word into Art at the British Museum, 2006. His works have been widely exhibited around the world, and can be found in many private and public collections including the British Museum, London; the National Museum for African Art, Washington; the Museum of Islamic Arts, Doha and many more. In 2010, he contributed works to the Centro Cultural Banco do Brazil’s exhibition Isla, (Islam) and The Future of Tradition – The Tradition of Future, at the Haus de Kunst, Germany.
Founded in 1979, October Gallery was one of the first galleries in the United Kingdom to present contemporary art from around the globe with the aim of promoting the Transvangarde, the transcultural avant-garde. October Gallery has provided a launching pad for the emergence of some of the most innovative and exciting artists of our time and continues to provide a nexus for cultural exchange in the heart of London.