October Gallery presents Celestial Blue, a solo exhibition of new works by the renowned artist Rachid Koraïchi. Born in the Aurès mountains of Algeria, Koraïchi’s creative explorations have employed an impressive range of media, which include paintings on canvas, paper and silk, bronze, wood and steel sculptures, ceramics, and textiles. Koraïchi’s abiding fascination with signs of all kinds is the unwavering constant informing his conscious and finely detailed work.

Beginning from the intricate tracery of Arabic writing – often in reverse or mirror script – Koraïchi deploys symbols, numbers, and ciphers drawn from a variety of languages and cultural traditions. Whether the source be numerological insights transmitted from times long past or fluid ideogrammatic glyphs of his own inspiration, Koraïchi organises these multi- layered embroideries of signs into moving statements that interpret afresh the world that surrounds us all.

In accordance with Koraïchi’s predilection for the magical number 7 – considered significant in all the major traditions – Celestial Blue will celebrate the artist’s 77th year. This exhibition will include canvas works interspersed with statuesque steel sculptures, in his characteristically figurative forms. The works on canvas are inspired by the nasibs that the 12th-century Sufi mystic and writer, Ibn ‘Arabi, set down in his book of love poems, The Interpreter of Desires (1215).

Each large, square canvas presents an original design produced in white on an indigo blue ground that improvises upon one of the original poems. Rather than being a direct translation, each work becomes a sustained reflection on the profundity of Ibn ‘Arabi’s original vision, offering a visual correlative to the ideas expressed in a modified, entirely contemporary form.

This outpouring of hand-painted ornamental forms allows Koraïchi to overlay modern concerns and commentary on the work of the Sufi mystic writer. Since no religious faith actively promotes genocide or the massacre of innocents, the ongoing atrocities in the Middle East today cannot be consciously condoned. For both Ibn ‘Arabi and Koraïchi, it seems self-evident that the so-called ‘Holy Land’ ought never to be polluted by such outrages.

Although originally from Andalucia, in Spain, Ibn ‘Arabi journeyed around the Middle East throughout his lifetime, eventually choosing to settle in Damascus as a revered master of the Sufi path. His writings transmit the unequivocal message of love for all others, without exception, as the distinctive mark of evolved human beings. In the early 13th century, Ibn ‘Arabi wrote, ‘I practice the religion of love, wherever its camels turn their faces. / This is my religion and my faith.’

Celestial Blue continues Koraïchi’s unique exploration of the spiritual path and its fundamental message of Tolerance for all. His art reveals how ancient practices still have relevance today.

Rachid Koraïchi (born in 1947, Aïn Beïda, Algeria) studied at the École supérieure des Beaux- Arts d'Alger, Algiers, Algeria, before continuing his studies at the École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, the Institut d'urbanisme, Paris, France and the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts.

October Gallery first showed Koraïchi’s work over two decades ago, in 2003, and has presented four solo exhibitions amongst a range of external projects overseas. In 2011, the Gallery collaborated with ADMAF to present Koraïchi’s masterpiece Path of Roses, in Abu Dhabi. In 2015, he completed work on his largest installation to date, La Prière des Absents, honouring his parents. That same year, he worked on a livery for the Dubai Metro Project. In 2011, seven of the 99 banners of The Invisible Masters (2010) won the prestigious Jameel Prize at the V&A, London, UK. This major installation was first shown in its entirety in The Future of Tradition - The Tradition of Future at Haus der Kunst, Munich, 2010.

In 2019, Rachid Koraïchi bought agricultural land in Zarzis, Tunisia, to create Le Jardin d’Afrique, a resting place, and memorial cemetery for migrants of all nationalities and religions who died crossing the Mediterranean Sea in search of a better life. Rachid Koraïchi’s work is in major public collections, including the British Museum, London, UK; the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, New York, USA; the Newark Museum, Newark, USA; the National Gallery, Amman, Jordan; the Miami Art Museum, Miami, USA; the Guggenheim, Abu Dhabi, UAE, and the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, India.