Marrakech Biennale 2014

The Marrakech Biennale is now a significant festival that holds its own amongst the established heavyweights, which is impressive given that it has only been with us since 2005. It doesn’t follow, recognising that imitation, while flattering, is unnecessary. The organisers want to say something new.

“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,” explained co-curator Carson Chan earlier this year. “Do we have to show art? Why not commission a novel, a symphony, an album or a prayer? “

This year’s festival, which was the fourth edition, was another landmark production, much more international in its character, exemplified by greater participation from galleries and institutions around the world, and, of course, a wider diffusion and exploration of various ideas.

Buoyed by the success of this expo, which attracted over 54,000 visitors, the team behind the biennale have revealed preliminary details about the fifth edition, which will take place in the summer of 2014.

The theme “Where are we now?” will be explored through five disciplines, including visual art, performance art, cinema and video, literature and architecture, all of which will engage in a dialogue with one another.

It has also been made public that Vanessa Branson, who founded the Marrakech Biennale and is its current president, has selected Alia Radman as its director and Alya Sebti as its artistic director.

“Starting with a snapshot of the contemporary Marrakech, this biennale will draw a new mapping with the subjective perspective of Marrakech in the centre and from that reveal and analyze the axis of influence through various concentric circles,” the organisers explained.

“We believe that now Marrakech is living a key moment in its history as an exceptional crossroad: the red city is deeply rooted in Morocco, the Maghreb and Africa; yet, it is also strongly connected with the Middle East, Europe, Americas and Asia.”

Potential venues in Marrakech for hosting exhibitions and events were listed as the Theatre Royal, Cyber Park, Koutoubia Cisterns, Dar Cherifa, Riad el-Fenn, Bank el-Meghreb, Denise Masson, Theatre Royal, Cyber Park, Institut Francais, Cinema Colisée, and Dar al-Ma’mun.

Details about which galleries and institutions will be taking part have yet to be disclosed, as the team behind the biennale are currently in the process of liaising with prospective candidates.

It was however divulged that some of the cultural foundations that the festival is keen on building partnerships with includes the Conseil Regionale du Tourism, the British Council and the Goethe Institute.

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