Badr El Hammami
Mohamed Larbi Rahali
MACBA explores the line of activities centred on the Mediterranean area - North Africa and the Middle East - and the emergence of new forms of civil society in the context of the Arab world. The project builds on a specific geography, the Rif Mountains, and an exchange between artists and the inhabitants of the Maghreb.
curated by Abdellah Karroum and Soledad Gutiérrez
Works by Mustapha Akrim, Yto Barrada, Gabriella Ciancimino, Shezad Dawood, Badr El Hammami, Ninar Esber, Patricia Esquivias, Brion Gysin, Camille Henrot, Grace Ndiritu, Mohamed Larbi Rahali, Younès Rahmoun, Francesc Ruiz, Oriol Vilanova, anonymous production and objects of collective authorship.
Karroum Abdellah (Morocco, 1970) works as an editor, curator and art researcher. He has founded and directed various projects, including: L’appartement22, an experimental space for exhibitions and artists created in 2002 in Rabat; Le bout du monde (2000–); and the art publishing house Éditions Hors’champs. He worked for the Musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux (1993–96), where he curated numerous exhibitions and initiated the laboratory Art, Technology and Ecology of ESAV–Marrakech. He was a member of the Golden Lion jury at the 2007 Venice Biennale, curator of the Moroccan Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale (2011) and part of the curatorial team of the Paris Triennial 2012.
With the project Before Our Eyes, MACBA explores the line of activities centred on the Mediterranean area – North Africa and the Middle East – and the emergence of new forms of civil society in the context of the Arab world. The project builds on a specific geography, the Rif Mountains, and an exchange between artists and the inhabitants of the Maghreb. Starting from this experience, it redraws the processes by which an artistic idea arises in a given context and reflects on the notion of authorship, the conditions for creating a work of art and its entry into a museum institution, that is to say, into history.
The project raises questions about how authorship is bounded within archival practices, how these are integrated into museum policies and how these two issues can illustrate a concrete social and political context. The exhibition invites different national and international artists to produce works that bring us closer to these areas of reflection and study. These areas of thinking are fundamental, not only to the understanding of the logic of the device, but in reflecting on the values of culture in relation to contemporary artistic creation and the tension between high and popular culture.
Accompanied by a seminar, a publication and a radio programme, the exhibition will present anonymous products generated in the geographical and cultural context of the Rif Valley, which, despite their aesthetic qualities, fall short of being considered works of art. It also presents the research project resulting from this exchange, looking at issues relating to the creative subject and the value of the work of art as object and as document. At the same time, it offers a theoretical reflection on the conditions of artistic production in this part of North Africa.
A seminar prior to the exhibition will present the primary material deriving from the research and provide the opportunity to initiate a debate around issues such as the value of the archive and the different types of patrimony generated in the creative processes: material, intangible, visual, literary, oral, etc. At the same time, it invites us to reflect on the historical and cultural exchange between the two shores of the Mediterranean outside the processes of national emancipation that the Maghreb has experienced in relation to European colonialism.
Publication on the occasion of the exhibition in Catalan, Castilian, Arabic and French. Radio programme presented in Spain (RWM – Radio Web MACBA) and Morocco (Radioappartement22).
Organisation and production: Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA).
Image: Yto Barrada, Route, Rif, 2009. Courtesy of L'appartement 22
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