Hossein Tallal and his friends from Alif Ba

“Theatricality of a Life”, an exhibition in tribute to the artist open to the public until July 20, 2023. Dedicated to one of the most outstanding Moroccan painters of his generation, this hanging, whose curatorship and scenography have entrusted to Mouna Annasse Hassani, retraces the artistic career of Hossein Tallal through key works, but also highlights the man, the character, a true personality of the Casablanca and Moroccan cultural scene from the beginning of the 1970s.

Conceived mainly from the collection of the Fondation Alliances, the exhibition crosses different periods of his career and presents through more than twenty paintings and drawings the most emblematic series of his career, such as his “Imaginary portraits” and his ” Artists traveling by night”.

Tallal was a singular artist, out of the ordinary, whose creations in free figuration stood out in the modern Moroccan pictorial landscape. He left us an astonishing and sensitive work; free in line and gesture, frank and economical black lines. Free in his subjects as well, largely portraits straight from his imagination. Tallal strove to represent a world to which he alone had the key and from which emerged residual figures: the circus character, the troubadour, the mountebank. These mental images projected on the surface of the canvas with chromatic parsimony, without background or decorum, give his works a serious theatricality, imbued with pathos and melancholy.

His Casablanca studio, a veritable cabinet of curiosities, was full of objects of all kinds, heterogeneous, but giving the place a baroque harmony that can be found in the exhibition through archive photos of his studio. That of the gallery owner too. Opened in 1982 with his mother Chaïbia, the Alif Ba gallery was a hotbed of the Casablanca artistic and cultural scene at the end of the 20th century.

More than a place of exhibition, it was a place of life, meetings and discussions, bringing together emerging and confirmed artists, authors, art critics and personalities, giving rise to a flourishing artistic emulation. The exhibition also pays tribute to these figures of modern Moroccan art who succeeded and exhibited there, such as Malika Agueznay, Farid Belkahia, André Elbaz, Mohamed Hamidi, Mohamed Kacimi, Hassani and Mohamed Melehi.

Finally, this exhibition sets out to present the man, his personality, his joie de vivre, his generosity and his love for others. Hossein Tallal, a colorful and yet so humble character, will have left a lasting mark on the Casablanca art scene.


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