Eric van Hove is a Cameroon-raised Belgian multimedia artist who lives and works between Brussels and Marrakech, whose exhibition with the Fenduq team at the Fries Museum was designed by Studio L A. Having always taken an interest in local craftsmanship and its changing relationship to global economic forces, van Hove’s work focuses on tying the local and global together by producing industrial products through traditional means. Van Hove builds these products together with traditional craftsmen from around the world, and in particular from Marrakesh. The final works reflect many different cultures working in collaboration.
For us, van Hove’s work is fundamentally tied to its context – both with regard to the location in which it’s built and the collaborations with residents of those places – and this context comes through in its unique characteristics and details. Van Hove’s work depict scooters and other vehicles which reflect the public spaces of his locations.
Van Hove documents his work on photographs taken in those public spaces of Marrakech, so we chose to avoid presenting his work in the white cube which erases the urban cultural context central of the works. The vibrant energy of his photographs convinced us to recreate it in the exhibition space, so we revealed the context by emphasizing the distinctive colour, shape, and pattern details of Marrakesh in our design.
The typical architecture of Marrakesh is square-based. This is reflected both in maps of the city that reveal disjointed rows of square buildings, and in traditional square tiling. Taking various design elements from these squares, we translated them into the exhibition space through elements such as columns, walls, and benches, which together constituted the vertical design strategy. We used columns to delineate different square spaces, each of which acted as a different space and was independent of the architecture of the museum. Each space had its own atmosphere which corresponded to the work on display. One square that was presenting the Mahjouba contained bright warm colours, while another space acted as a showroom. The horizontal design strategy was translated into the floors through the tiling and colour, highlighting the continuity in colours that can be found in Marrakech’s built environment. These distinctive squares generated a stronger feeling of intimacy, and created an atmosphere in which the incredible detail of the works became emphasized.