“What is your favorite colour? “ “Colourful.“ – Hamid Zénati
“Hamid Zénati. All-Over” is the first institutional exhibition dedicated to the work of the artist Hamid Zénati (b. 1944 Constantine, Algeria; d. 2022 Munich, Germany). Travelling between Munich and Algiers, Zénati’s artistic practice ranged from painting, textiles, interior and fashion design, to photography, always driven by an anarchic impetus to create. The presentation features work from an almost six-decade-long career and provides insight into the artist’s distinct cosmos for the first time.
The selection of works in the exhibition focuses on the artist’s unique formal language developed in his textiles; it also presents objects that function as keys to access Zénati’s visual cosmos, as well as a selection of his photographic archive that highlights the artist’s joy in experimentation, which will be accessible both in the exhibition space and online. The show’s title, “All-Over”, is derived from a term often used by the artist himself to describe his approach to textile design. While an art-historical link to all-over painting is implied (and thereby the lack of a dominant focal point or main motif, of a spatial effect or an indication for the image orientation, and the possibility to continue beyond the edge itself), “all-over” more importantly hints at the artist’s free and obsessive practice, painting on everything and taking in various cultural inspirations.
Zénati’s work is characterised by the sheer inexhaustible abundance of forms, patterns and the combination of colours, materials and techniques. As a self-taught artist, Zénati created his powerful yet playful compositions without conceding to predetermined hierarchies or value systems. He drew upon and incorporated everything that crossed his path and triggered his imagination. Mostly unknown, leading a diasporic life in precarious conditions, yet a keen observer of social, cultural and artistic movements, Zénati developed a unique perspective that challenges the established boundaries between styles, genres, as well as fine and applied arts. He worked with a striking variety of unique, playful and exquisite textile paintings, self-made fashion, murals, ceramics, furniture and photography.
“Hamid Zénati. All-Over” puts into practice a curatorial mission at Haus der Kunst to promote innovative contemporary artists overlooked by the art historical canon. It sets the ground for future consideration of the artist’s oeuvre by executing primary research and commissioning art historical writing to contextualize the works. By presenting the artist, Haus der Kunst establishes threads to past exhibitions that similarly explored the intersection of design, fashion and art.
Curated by Anna Schneider
Generously supported by The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, Stiftung Kunstfonds and City of Munich, Department of Arts and Culture.
On the occasion of the exhibition, the first monograph on Hamid Zénati has been published. Click here for more information about the catalogue “Hamid Zénati. All-Over”.