"A Proposal for Articulating Works and Places"
by Abdellah Karroum
This publication is conceived as an inventory of the first part of the exhibition project which begins to take shape at the Palais Bahia in Marrakech(1). It is “A Proposal for Articulating Works and Places” which reactivates the artworks in the sites of the exhibition and corresponds to the sites of their creation through documentation, information, and contact. The project extends beyond the physical sites of the city and indicates the artworks’ other spaces: Engan in the Artic Circle, Cape Town in South Africa, and Mexico City in North America. Closer places: a valley in the Rif, a warehouse in Fez’s industrial zone, an orphanage in Marrakech, and other spaces with public or private access. The exhibition’s production in Marrakech is exceptional as much for the means it required as for the character of the exhibition’s location and its history. A series of exceptional situations made this exhibition possible: the failure of the museum(2), budgetary restrictions, a ban from “touching” the monument that welcomed the exhibition, and very reduced human resources. Despite these restrictions, the artworks are expressive and stronger than ever. Art creates its own space for meeting just as philosophy creates its own discourse for interacting with societies.
As a project, the exhibition is also responsible for narrating the artworks but above all for connecting the imagination to the real in a back-and-forth (Allers/Retours)(3) movement between idea and project, between creation and expression. Here, the installation of works suggests an experiment with the limits of the exhibition’s “ecology.” No walls were built to separate the works from their sites of appearance and no limit set for the experiences of the artists and visitors, “invitees and foreigners.” Each physical installation is reduced to its structural minimum in order to foreground the artwork. No other artificial lighting is added except the light contained in the works and their equipment. This exhibition is also conceived in response to the multiple fragilities that characterize the context of its emergence. The first fragility is that of the Palais Bahia’s state of conservation, which forbids us to “touch” its walls. Visitors, tourists and locals continued to invade the Palais Bahia during the installation period. Some artists used this “openness” to test their proposals before the public.