“The whiteness of my work is a deliberate constraint. For the past several years, the work has focused on the complexity and permanent tensions between sensation, perception and experience. My materials are varied and highly referential: sewing needles, razor blades, gauze strips, metallic thread, cotton, paper. I control their affect through monochrome, in a conscious attempt to create suggestive forms which delineate borders between the private and social spheres.Experience, perception and sensation are inextricable, and inexpressible with words.Eschewing color is a strategy attuned to the impossibility of voicing my concerns. There is a neutrality of the artist’s persona which frees the viewer to interpret the metaphors according to her own sensibilities. The work produces its own symbols and allows for the creation of polyvalent images. The whiteness of my work is means, medium, message.
I show my work to hide my sensibility. Outside the studio I have no control. There is joy and beauty; yet there is war, famine and penury… and then my joy is contaminated by a feeling of incapacity with regard to the horrors which surround us.
The materials in my work are selected from a personal storehouse of memories, and the whiteness of my work depersonalizes them, so they may describe the world beyond the seamstress’ shop where I grew up.
The works I create are meant to suggest the human body in all its splendor, fragility and inevitable decay. Eyes, skin, hair are invoked using connotative images such as syringes, bandages, gauze. Sometimes this evoked body is purely feminine, sometimes asexual. It may appear in the very gesture that creates the work, as certain pieces composed with long narrow slits, or those of triangular forms. Or the body may appear liberated from all identity, all particularities of time and place, as a human body confronting the pain of existence and bearing the invisible wounds of our shared history.
Creating a new piece is long, often repetitive process, in which I try to push my engagement and reach a meditative state so that the work is born beyond my personal limitations.”
She graduated from l’Institut National des Beaux-Arts de Tétouan in 1998, and by developing an original approach, she entered the art world in a powerful way. Her work is characterized by the presence of the white color that, according to her, symbolized absence, immateriality, transparency, fragility, and even the space from which possibility can emerge. Delicate and powerful at the same time, her work is distinguished by the conjunction of fine and sharp materials: fabrics, cotton, paper, gauze, beads, but also needles, glass and razor blades.
Safaa Erruas uses the “absence” of color to get one’s attention and to communicate. As a formal composition as well as a conceptual strategy, the intrinsic neutrality of one single color is the outset to combine and transform objects such as pins, needles, razor blades, cotton gauzes, and other everyday objects, in works that suggest some fragility, uncertainty, and sometimes hope. These tensions and conflicts between the individual and the society, the public and the private are also present in her artworks on paper. On many of them, the repetitive act of cutting, arranging, placing, and wrapping suggest that someone or something is in perpetual movement.
She has participated in different collective and solo exhibitions in many countries: France, Germany, Egypt, Belgium, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, India and Morocco.
Safaa Erruas is born in 1976, in Tetouan.
She lives and works in Tetouan.
Texts and articles
• “Safaa Erruas: A Step Ahead” in Nafas Art Magazine
•“10 artists we’re eyeing at the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair” in Between10and5
• Texte de Bouthaina Azami
•“A deliberate vertigo. The work of Safaa Erruas” text by Silvia Cirelli