Presided by Vanessa Branson and curated by Reem FADDA, the sixth edition of the Marrakech Biennale is a festival with the mission to build bridges between the cultures through the arts, inspiring outstanding artists from all over the world to create work that responds to the magical environment of Marrakech.
Concentrated within Marrakech’s central historical sites of the El Bahia and El Badii palaces, Dar Si Saïd museum, Menara Pavilion, and Koutoubia Mosque and its surrounding minaret and cistern, the Marrakech Biennale offers visitors an immervise experience between the historical sites, the souks within the Medina and the contemporary art installations.
The Palais de Bahia is displaying works by the late Farid Belkahia, an artist who spent nearly his entire life in Marrakech (1934-2014). Belkahia studied and worked in Europe for several years, but eventually returned to the region, where he headed the School of Fine Art in Casablanca in the early ’60s and created abstracted pieces from rich materials resembling the Moroccan earth (wax, copper, tanned leathers), effectively replacing the European expressionists’ canvases with the organic.
The installation by Oscar Murillo entitled through patches of wheat, corn and mud exemplifies the artist’s ability to move across mediums, spanning painting to sculpture and interactive installation. The public is here called directly into the artwork through being able to handle large-size artworks, mainly paintings, of modest appearance.
By removing the taboo of touch and using humble and disposable, materials, the artist questions the aura and statute of the work of art and develops a new role for it in the viewer’s physical space.
Fatiha Zemmouri presents an installation at the Palais El Badii entitled À l’abri… de rien (Sheltered… From Nothing). A massive, meteor-like rock made of polystyrene and plaster appears wedged between two walls at the end of a narrow corridor.
Hovering overhead, while it recalls a ancient history and geological time, the viewer’s awareness is focussed towards a potential daunting outcome.
Colourful paintings by Moroccan artist Mohammed Chabâa, part of the radical Casablanca School of Fine Arts (mostly active in the 1960s and ’70s) also adorn the rooms to historical palaces.
View the full set of pics here
Stay tuned for the rest of our coverage where we visit the Rancinan extraodinary exhibition, the OFF and the Street Art projects of the Marrakech Biennale.
Until 6 May 2016