Driss Ouadahi

"Over the past seven years I have been painting urban landscapes collaged from elements such as high-rise housing blocks, streets and parking lots, playgrounds and small green spaces – all to be found in metropolitan suburbs worldwide.
The suburban place – ‘Dans Cité’ – bears a direct relation to and is reflected by the ‘Densité’, the density of the work. Through my paintings I express my interest in developing a universally readable visual language from the light and atmosphere of the urban landscape.

More recently I have been focusing on two types of urban elements – one is tiled passageways as often found in subway systems, conveying the claustrophic and scary atmosphere of blocked escape routes. The second type is spatial demarcations, depictions of chain-linked fences, such as those in The Future of a Promise, which are both minimalist abstractions and signifiers of separation."

1959 born in Casablanca, Morocco and lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany. 

Driss Ouadahi grew up in Algeria, studying at the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts d’Alger before enrolling and subsequently graduating from the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Germany.

Driss takes as his subject matter the built environment of urban alienation - sterile modernist public housing developments, wire netting and underground passageways. Driss paints works of paradoxical beauty using this stark urbanism as his springboard.

Currently Driss works in three milieu- landscapes, fences and underpasses. Persistent in each are his core concerns of geometric abstraction, transparency and the implication of the veil.

His large formal landscapes are montages of spaces and places he knows, with human-scale details often omitted. His labyrinthine layering of planes creates space and perspective that is both familiar and confusing. The accuracy Driss' execution belies the fragility of the structures he paints. Driss' fences recall the wire-netting common in the metropolitan suburbs of France and Algeria. They delimit zones into which entrance is not permitted and demarcate privileged zones. Driss' underpasses are the most illusionistic and are based on actual subways in Germany.

Driss has exhibited in solo exhibitions including; Each Day an Artist, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, UAE, 2018; Systems of demacration, Von er Heydt-Kunsthalle Wuppertal-Barmen, Germany, 2018; Transposition, Caroline Pagès gallery, Lisbon, Portugal, 2016; Breach in the Silence, Hosfelt Gallery, SF, USA, 2016; Inside Zenith, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, UAE, 2014; Implosion, Caroline Pagès gallery, Lisbon, Portugal, 2013; Trans-Location, Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2013;Breathing Space, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, UAE, 2012; Galerie Horst Schuler, Düsseldorf, Germany, 2011; Densité, Hosfelt Gallery, NY, USA, 2010; Herbert-Weisenburger-Stiftung, Rastatt, Germany, 2009; dok25a, (with Yun Lee), Düsseldorf, Germany, 2008; Unexpected Neighborhoods, Hosfelt Gallery, NY, USA, 2007; Another Place, Another Me, Hosfelt Gallery, SF, CA, USA, 2007; Atelier am Eck, (with Mourad Messoubeur), Düsseldorf, Germany, 2005; Künstlerverein Malkasten, (with Mourad Messoubeur), Düsseldorf, Germany, 2005; Centre d’Art Contemporain, Istres, France, 2003; Institut Français, Düsseldorf, Germany, 2001; and Raum X, Düsseldorf, Germany, 1996.

His work is in several public collections including Modern Forms, London, UK;  FRAC Centre, Orléans, France; Herbert-Weisenburger-Stiftung, Rastatt, Germany; Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf, Germany; Nadour Collection; Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE; Kamel Lazaar Foundation, Istanbul, Turkey; and Stadtsparkasse Baden-Baden, Germany.

Driss has won the Grand Prix Léopold Sédar Senghor Prize at the 11th edition of Dak’Art, the Biennial of Contemporary African Art in Dakar, Senegal in 2014.

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