Marrakech Biennale 5 – Where are we now?

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Deposit (Spring Deficit Alter Dubai. Alter Hammons, and After the Politics of White Noise), 2008-2012 Installation View Galleria Enrico Astuni, Bologna
Serment d 'Hippocrate, 2008 (reference work) Wire, Rattan, Enamelled Copper Wire 90 X 60 Cm © Photo: Claire Soubrier
La Salle de Classe (reference work) Analog Photography 50 X 60 Cm © Courtesy of L'Atelier 21 and the artist
V12 Laraki (detail), 2013 Spare Parts : Cooling System (Exploded); Mixed Media 30 X 23 X 25 Cm © Photo: Keetja Allard
Marrakech Biennale 5 – Where are we now?

Marrakech Biennale Association
2 Derb Moulay Abdallah Ben Hezzian, Bab el-Ksour, Medina
February 26th, 2014 - March 31st, 2014

Other (outside areas listed)
photography, mixed-media


The fifth edition of the Marrakech Biennale poses the question Where are we now? through a dialogue between four disciplines: visual arts, cinema / video, literature and performing arts, the latter a new discipline of the Marrakech Biennale as of 2014. This question can be raised in different fields of the geographical, philosophical and socio-political discourse. 2014 will see the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Marrakech Biennale, which has constantly been building bridges between Morocco and beyond, stimulating a dialogue between cultures through the realm of visual art, literature and cinema.

With a strong will to ground the Biennale in Marrakech, this fifth edition is carried by a new team where each member has a strong connection to, and a deep understanding of, the contemporary cultural scene in Morocco. Through its artistic director Alya Sebti, a curator specialized in contemporary art from North Africa, the official programme of the Marrakech Biennale will be curated by Hicham Khalidi (visual arts), Khalid Tamer (performing arts), Driss Ksikes (literature) and Jamal Abdenassar (cinema & video).

By inviting in around 40 artists to produce commissioned and site-specific pieces, and in total around 70 participating artists, the curators encourage the artists to respond to this question in their own individual way. By defining new articulations between Visual Arts, Literature, Cinema & Video, and Performance – the curators aim to open up the creative process and to analyse and reveal the nexus of cultural influences between Marrakech and the rest of the world, with Marrakech at the centre.

Marrakech developed hundreds of years ago into one of the main cultural and religious centres for the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa. Today the city still finds itself within Morocco, the Maghreb, Africa and with a close connection to the Middle-East; but also in the middle of a transition phase of our global society. Founded as a reaction to the international political situation in the beginning of the 21st century and the consequent negative perception in the Arab world, the aim of the Marrakech Biennale is to gather local, regional and international audiences in order to stimulate dialogues, and to invite emerging and established artists from all over the world to create new pieces of site-specific nature. The official programme of the 2014 edition will be connected to ten selected parallel projects showing the wide breadth of interpretations on the theme of Where are we now?. As a participatory event, fringe projects will pop up everywhere in the city, coinciding with the dates of the Marrakech Biennale.


History of the Marrakech Biennale

In 2004 with the rise of global tensions, Vanessa Branson envisioned a cultural festival that would address social issues through the arts, using them as a vehicle for debate and discussion and to build bridges between diverse ideologies. The Marrakech Biennale would become a celebration of creativity in a city that has been the focus of artistic exploration for centuries but with limited emphasis on contemporary art. Beginning in 2005 as a gathering of arts enthusiasts who organised literary events and exhibitions, the Biennale has grown to become an internationally recognised event with a thriving visual art and literature programme. Pevious participants include artists from a wide spectrum of disciplines, such as Esther Freud, Patricia Esquivias, Josef Kosuth, Hanif Kureishi, Anri Sala, Julian Schnabel and Zadie Smith.

Marrakech Biennale is a young non-for-profit organization, with an efficient Management Team including President and Founder Vanessa Branson, Vice President Amine Kabbaj, General Director Stefan Holwe, Artistic Director Alya Sebti, and Operational Director Alia Radman, The team work closely together with the Biennale Advisory Board and the Artistic Steering Committee, and leading up to each event, the team grows through freelance professionals and volunteers.


Marrakech Biennale 5, under the artistic direction of Alya Sebti, has announced the list of participating artists of the Visual Arts section, curated by Hicham Khalidi. The upcoming edition of the Biennale, taking place 26 February – 31 March 2014, will analyse the question of Where are we now? through the participation of around 70 artists in four different disciplines: Visual Arts, Literature, Cinema & Video and Performing Arts.

Dutch-Moroccan curator Hicham Khalidi (1972, Kenitra, Morocco) is curating the visual arts exhibition of Marrakech Biennale 5, which will feature more than 40 artists and 20 especially commissioned pieces.

Using the question and main theme of the Biennale as a starting point (Where are we now?), the visual art element reworks the idea of the contemporary implied in the Biennale’s title this year and takes it into an examination of contemporaneity, fiction, and identity, providing an opportunity to question the current and changing socio-political context of the region. Hicham Khalidi connects this idea of contemporaneity to artists’ strategies and to both utilize and problematize these models in order to demonstrate how fictionalized identity can be used to produce national identity.

The art works will be spread between the venues of the 16th century Palais Badii, which was commissioned by the Sultan Al Mansour in 1578, Dar Si Said, which houses the Museum of Moroccan Arts, and the former Bank Al Maghrib in the middle of the Jemaa El Fna square, all locations complementing each other in showcasing the rich architectural heritage of the city.

Participating artists (07.01.2014)

Saadane Afif (1975, Vendome, FR)

Wafae Ahalouch el Keriasti (1978, Tanger, MA)

Mustapha Akrim (1981, Rabat, MA)

Can and Asli Altay (1975, Ankara, TR)

Mohamed Arejdal (1984, Guelmim, MA)

Burak Arikan (1976, Istanbul, TR)

Jelili Atiku (1968, Ejigbo, NG)

Kader Attia (1970, Dugny, FR)

Yassine Balbzioui (1972, Kelâat Es-Sraghna, MA)

Charif Benhelima (1966, Brussels, BE)

Hicham Benohoud (1968, Marrakech, MA)

Katinka Bock (1976, Frankfurt/Main, DE)

Max Boufathal (1983, Paris, FR)

Keren Cytter (1977, Tel-Aviv, Il)

Shezad Dawood (1974, London, UK)

Lily Reynaud Dewar (1975, La Rochelle, FR)

Cevdet Erek (1974, Istanbul, TR)

Hamza Halloubi (1982, Tangier, MA)

Eric Van Hove (1975, BE)

Iman Issa (1979, Cairo, EG)

Hassaan Kahn & Ibtesam Gazder (1976/1983,Jeddah, SA)

Hamid El Kenbouhi (1976, Larache MA)

Hiba, Ghita and Zineb Khamlichi (2000, 1995,1988, Rabat, MA)

Adriana Lara (1978, Mexico City, MX)

Gabriel Lester (1972, Amsterdam, NL)

Tala Madani (1981, Teheran, IR)

Saud Mahjoub (1957, Makkah, SA)

Randa Maroufi (1987, Casablanca, MA)

Agnes Meyer-Brandis (1973, Aachen, DE)

Sandra Niessen (1954, Toronto, CA)

Walid Raad (1967, Beirut, LB)

Younes Rahmoun (1975, Tetouan, MA)

Pamela Rosenkranz (1979, Sils-Maria, CH)

Khaled Sabsabi (1965, Tripoli, LB)

Saout Radio: Younes Baba-Ali (1986, Oujda, MA)

& Anna Raimondo (1981, Maddaloni, IT)

Mounira Al Solh (1978, Beirut, LB)

Patrick Wokmeni (1985, Douala, CM)

Katarina Zdjelar (1979, Belgrade, RS)


Special commissions:


A sound performance project curated by Carl Michael von Hausswolff (1956, Linköping, SE) and Jacob Kirkegaard (1975, Esbjerg, DK)

Performances by

JG Thirlwell

Franz Pomassl

Anna Ceeh

Maia Urstad

Mike Harding

Brandon LaBelle

BJ Nilsen

Christine Ödlund

Kent Tankred

Jacob Kirkegaard

Tommi Grönlund

Petteri Nisunen

Carl Michael von Hausswolff


Leif Elggren

leif e. boman

Singing Maps and Underlying Melodies

A music performance curated by Clara Meister (1981, Munich, DE) in collaboration with S.T.I.F.F., kamarstudios and Moroccan musicians


About Hicham Khalidi

Hicham Khalidi is a Dutch-Moroccan curator of contemporary art. From 2003 until 2011, he was artistic director of TAG (Instutute for Audiovisual Art, The Hague, The Netherlands). Khalidi studied finance and worked for a couple of years in the fashion industry. His favourite subjects are politics of the image and trans-disciplinary research in speculative art and design. Khalidi is a board member of V2_: interdisciplinary centre for art and media technology in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. As of March 2013, Khalidi is head of exhibitions at Stuk kunstencentrum in Leuven, Belgium. His latest curated exhibitions include: On Geometry and Speculation (as part of the 4th edition of the Marrakech Biennale, Marrakech, 2012), Transnatural Festival (Nemo Science Center, Amsterdam, 2012) and Alles, was Sie über Chemie wissen müssen (Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, 2011).