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Higher Atlas

Theatre Royal, Marrakech

Over 37 artists from China to the USA and Iceland to Morocco, have produced large, site-specific installations in collaboration with local artisans and students. Dispersed among the Theatre Royal - a building that remains incomplete - the Koutoubia cisterns, the Bank Al-Maghrib building, the Cyber Parc Arsat Moulay Abdeslam, and at Dar Al-Ma'mun foundation, the exhibition engages Marrakech by underlining the contemporary relevance of civic, rural and historical sites. It is the the main visual arts appointment of the Marrakech Biennale 2012.

comunicato stampa

Curated by Nadim Samman and Carson Chan

High connotes reverie and transcendence: Higher Atlas suggests a cartography of the beyond. The title also refers to surrounding geography, as the Atlas Mountains are visible from all the biennial sites. In this respect, the exhibition is a starting point for a series of trips, both virtual and physical; Other worlds begin at one’s feet. This thesis is explored through site-specific art, architectural, musical and textual interventions. A layered context emerges from the particularity of the exhibition experience, articulating the blurred boundaries between historically discrete spheres, and the conjunction of local and global conditions.

Dispersed among the Théâtre Royal, a building that remains incomplete; the Koutoubia cisterns, which lie beneath the foundations of a previous mosque; the Bank Al-Maghrib building, located on the south side of the perpetually bustling Djemaa el-Fna square; the Cyber Parc Arsat Moulay Abdeslam; and at Dar Al-Ma’mûn foundation, Higher Atlas engages Marrakech by underlining the contemporary relevance of civic, rural and historical sites through the work of international participants. The exhibition, which features work from 37 participants, constitutes a shared platform for diverse demographics, initiating dialogues that produce new, consensual realities.

Over thirty international artists, architects, writers, musicians and composers will be showing their work, including Karthik Pandian, Aleksandra Domanovic, CocoRosie, Jon Nash, Juergen Mayer H and Turner Prize nominated Roger Hiorns.

Co-curator Carson Chan notes: "While trying to curate an exhibition that could become part of a contemporary Moroccan cultural identity, we can also challenge the received methods of biennale making that is routinely practiced elsewhere. Do we have to show art? Why not commission a novel, a symphony, an album or a prayer?"

Marrakech Biennale is a Moroccan biennale of contemporary international culture. In February of 2012, Marrakech Biennale will launch its fourth edition, Free Thinking Surrender, featuring key figures in literature, film and visual arts. From the 29th Feburary – 4th March 2012, public screenings, talks, performances and debates will take place at venues around the city. Higher Atlas, an exhibition curated by Carson Chan and Nadim Samman, will be on view until June 3, 2012. Alan Yentob, creative director of the BBC, returns this year as the organizer of the film program, and Omar Berrada with Elizabeth Sheinkman will organize the literature events.

With each biennial, Marrakech Biennale strives to collaborate with local universities and craftsmen, to build a platform that promotes Marrakech’s position within the international sphere. Through partnerships with African and international voices, the Biennale aims to support a Moroccan cultural identity that is both locally rooted and internationally relevant. Developed for this upcoming edition, the Marrakech Biennale will establish workshops for children lead by local and international cultural practitioners to promote access to contemporary culture for all ages. These three months aim to highlight Morocco as a dynamic hub for current ideas and to establish its continued intellectual involvement on an international stage.

Art Participants

Theatre Royal:

Alex Schweder La & Khadija Carroll La
Alexander Ponomarev
Andrew Ranville
Christopher Mayo
CocoRosie (Bianca Casady, Sierra Casady)
Ethan Hayes-Chute
Eva Grubinger
Faouzi Laatiris
Florian & Michael Quistrebert
Gideon Lewis-Kraus
Hassan Darsi
Joe Clark
Jon Nash
Juliana Cerqueira Leite
Juergen Mayer H.
Katarzyna Przezwańska
Katia Kameli
Leung Chi Wo
Luca Pozzi
Matthew Stone & Phoebe Collings-James
Megumi Matsubara
Pascale Marthine Tayou
Roger Hiorns
Sinta Werner
Sophie Erlund
Tue Greenfort
Younes Baba-Ali

Bank Al-Maghrib:
Anri Sala
Karthik Pandian

Cyber Parc Arsat Moulay Abdeslam:
Aleksandra Domanović

Dar Al-Ma’mûn:
Elín Hansdóttir

Koutoubia Cisterns:
Barkow Leibinger Architects, Frank Barkow, Regine Leibinger, Project Architect: Gustav Düsing
Felix Kiessling
Finnbogi Pétursson
Megumi Matsubara

Image: Nadim Samman and Carson Chan, photographed by Item Idem

For more press information please contact
Jody Gillett mobile + 44 (0) 7818 453 650

Vernissage, including special performances, takes place on March 1st at the Théâtre Royal, from 16:00 till 20:00.

Théâtre Royal
40, boulevard Mohamed VI 40000 Marrakech
open daily 11:00 - 18:00.

Higher Atlas
dal 29/2/2012 al 2/6/2012

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