Born in 1986 in Oujda in Morocco, Younes Baba-Ali lives and works in Casablanca and Brussels. He makes art that is unconventional, intelligent and critical, mostly in public space or places uncommon to art practice. He is a sharp observer and raises pertinent questions aimed at society, the institution and above all, his audience. As a free thinker he holds a mirror up to society and confronts it with its ingrained habits and dysfunctions.
Baba-Ali’s work often assumes the form of the readymade, but underneath its facade of simplicity there is a complex exercise in balance at work. As an artist-alchemist he measures and mixes technology, objects, sound, video and photography with political, social and ecological issues. The resulting installations discreetly coerce the unsuspecting viewer into taking a stand. Baba-Ali shuns no controversy and often finds himself negotiating his art and its rationale with his environment. His works are context-specific and take their final form in dialogue with its spectators. This at times disruptive intervention art confronts the viewer in an ironical way with himself and his environment. Baba-Ali presents people dilemmas and taboos and challenges them to (re)act. In this way he makes them his accomplices in acts of artistic guerrilla that unite the establishment and the common man.
This year, KIKK collaborates with Ker Thiossane & The Dakar Bienale with curators Delphine Buysse and Manon Louisgrand Sylla to show a selection of artists from the African Continent in the exhibition.
In Paraboles (2011- 2019) Younes Baba-Ali explores the physical and metaphorical relationship between migrants and their host communities. Clusters of satellite dishes infectuously flock together on the facades of the buildings, oscillating between here and elsewhere. Dislogded from the roofs and balconies of migrant housing complexes, they transmute into mechanical portraits of their communities – performing as visual markers of assumed otherness. Hesitantly quivering, trying to locate a signal to no avail, they reveal the satellite dish as a trope of condensed possibilities : a tool to connect to new horizons and ideas as well as a potent symbol of disconnection from host societies, of cultural and religious isolationism. Here, they aim further east, towards Mecca. In a state of limbo, their antennas no longer statically point at satellites but are in a constant search of a spiritual pole: the qibla. Their choreographed schizophrenia draws the portrait of a community in the midst of a spiritual and identity crisis.
– Text by Aude Tournaye