PARTY! in the Netherlands

Morad Bouchakour

In the courtyard on King Street West, and at various construction hoardings around downtown Toronto, Morad Bouchakour presents photographs from an extensive series depicting social gatherings, previously published in his book PARTY! in the Netherlands. He pictures parties of various types in a variety of settings,with people of diverse ages in a wide range of celebratory activities and states of mind. Given their proximity to the restaurants and bars in the heart of Toronto’s recently christened entertainment district, the photographs are certainly appropriate to their surroundings. Initially one might link these images to the Cartier-Bresson tradition of street photography, in which the photographer anonymously captures some decisive moment in time, but that is not Bouchakour’s intention. He is acquainted with his subjects and has gained their confidence; he is involved in the activities he photographs and has, however tenuously, become emotionally connected to them. This has enabled him to explore, unfettered, a range of human emotions. For the most part his subjects are not posed nor are they posing. In an image depicting a young teenage dance party, Bouchakour records wonderfully the tentative and fragile awkwardness of pubescence apparent in a youth’s body language and facial expression. Lustful abandon is palpable in a photograph of a shirtless male couple embracing, one with his hand reaching down theback of the other’s pants.

Morad Bouchakour was born is Brussels in 1965, the son of an Algerian father and a Dutch mother. He spent his formative years in Amsterdam and in 1995 graduated from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, then relocated to New York to work as a freelance photographer. Bouchakour’s work brings together a variety of disciplines. Both his independent photography and his commissions for international magazines and advertising agencies are characterized by the proximity he maintains between the camera and his subject, to create strikingly spontaneous and intimate images. (excerpt from an essay by David Liss, CONTACT 2005 magazine)

Bouchakour's installations were coordinated by Walter Willems.

Installations of 10 photographs can be found on construction hoarding at locations detailed below throughout downtown Toronto in May. Each 36 x 24 inches, overall 64 x 130 inches: - Queen St W & York: South side on Queen - Queen St W & St. Patrick: North side on Queen - Avenue Rd & Webster: East side on Avenue Rd - Augusta & Queen St W: East side on Augusta - Breadalbane west of Yonge St: North side of Breadalbane - Eastern Ave & Broadview: on Eastern - Fleet St west of Bathurst: North side on Fleet

Courtyard installation of six large format photographs. Five 47 x 38 inches & one 47 x 60 inches.