Six questions for
Nassim Azarzar

Tique asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Nassim Azarzar.

Artist Nassim Azarzar
Lives in Rabat, Morocco

How do you describe your own art practice?

I am a visual artist/designer/teacher. These three aspects of my life are feeding each other. I grew up in France, the son of immigrant parents who came from Morocco to France when they were young, I decided to do the contrary after my studies and came to Morocco to understand more of who I am by developing a practice here. This artistic practice today revolves around imagery and popular imaginaries by exploring their different forms, occurrences, and devices of representation in a Moroccan context.

Which question or theme is central in your work?

I’m interested in developing visual languages that are related to specific contexts, questioning vernacular forms and technologies which produce evolving aesthetics around decorative arts, painting, drawing, sculpture and experimental cinema. I have been conducting a specific research these last years around the decorative arts we can find on moroccan transport trucks. This became a kind of obsession and generated a very diverse body of work.

What was your first experience with art?

We never have been very used to art in my family, I grew up in Epinay Sur Seine in what we call « cité » in France and it was a very marginalized zone with no museums or galleries. My father though used to listen to a lot of jazz and it is something which stay very present in my life. But my very first encounter with visual arts was at the Centre des arts d’Enghien les Bains in France when I was maybe around 13. I don’t remember the exact exhibition but the art center just opened and it was a collective show of south korean artists, most of the works exhibited were photographs. I was pretty amazed by the aura of the place and the art pieces, I never saw anything like that before, I remember just sitting there on the ground feeling very strange about everything. I kept coming back to that place a lot after this first encounter. A funny story is that I fell in love also with their communication, I think the designer was Michal Batory from Poland. I remember stealing posters in the streets or wherever I could find them with friends. My room was full of these. In a way, I decided to become an artist and a designer at that moment. I think since that day I have kept searching for that exact first feeling.

What is your greatest source of inspiration?

I am always on a quest of researching informal, vernacular aesthetics in order to see how it can affect my way of working and understanding the world. Recently the streets of Morocco became a real ground of investigation for me, I try to document everything, each time starting a kind of investigation to understand what are the technics, stories, relations existing behind what I like to call aesthetic phenomenons.

What do you need in order to create your work?

Usually I can start working when I feel there is a system that can be explored. I define the rules of this system or I start from an object for example ruled by his own system. From that moment I start declining, complexifying in ways that allows me to be the witness of shapes and stories that slides to become something else. I like starting from a very defined process only to observed it becoming something totally different. This is my way of being in relation to the world and to the things I’m interested in. It’s like being in a tunnel and feeling the need to yell to hear the distortion of your voice and in consequence being able to measure the tunnel’s architecture.

What work or artist has most recently surprised you?

I never go anywhere without a book from Roger Callois named « Pierres ». I keep coming back also to Cyprien Gaillard’s work, I’m amazed by how he embraces the poetry of entropy. There is also the work of Kasper Bosmans!

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