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L’appartement 22,
279 avenue Mohamed V,
MA-10000 Rabat,
T +212663598288,
Conference on "The Issues and Networks of Art during the Post-Contemporary Era"

Monday 5 November 2007

[عربي] [English] [français]

A symposium proposed by Abdellah Karroum from 25-27 October in Rabat and in Marrakech from 29-30 October 2007

Problematics/Points of Inquiry

Artistic creation in the twenty-first century has already seen rapid changes, as much in the media and forms of expression as in its issues and structures of its networks. This symposium, which will take place in Rabat and Marrakech, will interrogate "The Issues and Networks of Art during the Post-Contemporary Era" (1). Work on this “region” implies all of the Mediterranean’s shores and their relationship to the reality of cultural exchanges and migratory human movement (including those that are the result of colonialisms and cultural interferences!). The definition of the Maghreb is relative, depending on one’s point of view and the ways in which “Maghreb” is employed; North Africa is a vast zone where ancestral practices and contemporary life collide.

In order to pursue the cultural issues pertaining to North Africa, we must first examine its relationship to “Europe,” “Africa,” the “Middle East,” and other regions. It is equally important to illuminate the evolution of philosophical thought, its beliefs, and its convictions. Via multiple translations and interpretations, these philosophical values were passed from ancient Egypt to Greece, then to Andalusia, and finally to the rest of Europe…

Closer to us is the question of modernity. We know that local modernisms, or rather, local cultures during the international Modern era, were dominated by colonialism, a historical fact whose effects are still highly visible today. But wouldn’t Modernism have been in dialogue with these many modernisms? Indeed, the concept of art and its contemporary perception had a “problematic” history during the “Modern” era. In those several decades, the circulation of European, Eastern, and African practices and thoughts confronted one another in the imaginations, traditions, and taboos of each of these societies.

With these historical, social, and cultural givens in mind, we invite the participants in this symposium to examine sites of contemporary artistic practice within the context of their research and then to analyze the emergence of artists who, laying claim to their own individual networks, push largely beyond the notion of political and cultural “territory.” We would also like to propose an investigation of the intellectual production that accompanies such artworks and an analysis of its methods. Finally, and by way of introducing the symposium’s main questions, I want to challenge the existence of a paradigm of the “Maghreb” or of the “Middle East,” in order to either demonstrate its relevance or deconstruct its myth.

Following 2005’s colloquium, “The Artwork Always” (2), meetings which took place in New York City in 2007 (3), and keeping in mind other international dialogue about contemporary artistic creation, this symposium intends to examine the dimensions in which artistic experimentation and experience are most affected by today’s societies, which their different reference points, complicities, and conflicts. The post-contemporary era could be defined as being dominated by cultural and political interference and by the fall of democracy as a value. In art, post-contemporaneity is visible in the formatting of international dialogues and exchanges and in the development of a globalization which has the tendency to drown out all originality outside of the styles that the art system created for itself. Finally, the return of ideological phantoms and/or the arrival of new powers that are tied to energy and science force us to consider the individual’s relationship to the social systems and the powers that create him/her. The art world is not excluded from these political and economic spheres which are unrelenting in inscribing the production of artwork with a logic of speed and expansion. Both the artist and the commissary invent active forms and cooperative methods. This symposium will also interrogate methods of investing in art and their greater social implications.

The principal axes of this symposium are centered around a reflection upon the following:

1 – The school: place of information or formation? Does it provide tools for individual fulfillment and/or does it anticipate the development of a collective imaginary and of “social creativity”? Does the school put itself on an isolated path or does it seek to build the first bridges towards “cooperation”? How does one prepare students for artistic collaboration and for knowledge sharing? Does either the workshop or the voyage offer an alternative to the “traditional” art school (ex: Ecole superieur des arts visuels, Marrakech)?

2 – Cooperative/collaborative networks and issues of contemporary creation: “erase yourself – reveal yourself.” Cultural action’s collaborative approach will thus be a platform for reflection and for studios of exchange in order to develop an active and cooperative method of realizing future artworks and projects. The questions of representation, author, subject, and public will also be addressed, keeping existing experiments and upcoming projects in mind (ex: SUD, MultiPistes, Copresences).

3 – The questions of creation during the post-contemporary era will be examined as they relate to current issues and events and to the evolution of artistic networks (ex: Biennials, establishment and use of art schools, the internationalization of museums).

4 – A special session will be devoted to the most current contemporary production in North Africa and the Middle East, a logical successor to the conference organized by the Museum of Modern Art in New York in April 2007. Specifically, this session will address working from the art objects themselves and from different curatorial experiments and practices that have emerged in Lebanon, Egypt, and Turkey. This fourth axis aims to encourage studios/art spaces to develop networks between the art world’s institutions and its professionals (both institutional and independent).

5- A video programm and workshops will be included in the activities during the Symposium.

Program (in french!):

RABAT, à l’Ecole Nationale d’Architecture

Jeudi 25 octobre

- 9h00-10h30 : Ouverture avec El Montacir Bensaïd (ENA), Vincent Melilli (ESAV), René Troccaz (SCAC), Abdellah Karroum (L’appartement 22)
- 10h30 : Projection vidéo. Daniel Chust, « Saltar per el Aire » (2006), présenté par Cécile Bourne.
- 11h00-12h00 : Conférence de Marilyn Douala Bell & Didier Schaub (Doual’art)
- 14h30-17h00 : L’école, lieu de formation ou d’information ? avec Seamus Farrell, Nadira Laggoune Aklouche, Faouzi Laatiris…
- 17h00 : Projection vidéo. Goddy Leye, « We Are the World ».
- 18h30 : Rencontre avec Latifa Laabissi présentée par Sandrine Wymann et interrogée par Emmanuelle Cherel.

Vendredi 26 octobre

- 9h00-10h30 : L’enseignement de l’art, avec Benyounès Amirouche, Saïd Bouftass, Amy Horschak, Djamel Kokene, Vincent Melilli
- 10h30 : Projection vidéo. Amal Kenawy, « You Will Be Killed » (2006).
- 11h00 Rencontre avec Pauline de Mazières (L’Atelier)
- 14h30-16h00: Lieux coopératifs et méthodes curatoriales, avec Cécile Bourne, Marilyn Douala Bell & Didier Schaub, Goddy Leye, Abdellah Karroum (appt22)
- 16h00 : Réseaux coopératifs et problématiques de l’art contemporain. « s’effacer – se révéler », l’approche coopérative de l’action culturelle. Avec Cécile Bourne, Catherine David, Mohamed El Baz, Abdellah Karroum, Hamdi Ounaina…
- 19h50 : Projection film. Bertrand Bonello, « My New Picture » (2006), présenté par Vincent Melilli à L’appartement 22 (sur inscription).
- 21h00 : Vernissage. Exposition «World Map» de Hamdi Attia à L’appartement 22. (sur inscription!).

Samedi 27 octobre

- 9h00-10h00 : Présentation des projets (Coprésences, MultiPistes, SUD…). Atelier d’échange curators et artistes, avec Cécile Bourne, Elvira Dyangani Ose, Younès Rahmoun, Eline van der Vlist, Stephen Wright, Sandrine Wymann.
- 10h30 : Discussion avec les participants.
- 14h30-15h30 : Projection vidéo. Sislej Xhafa, « Passion Fruit » (2007) (et discussion online possible avec Sislej Xhafa)
- 15h00-16h30 : Online Public Discussion (New Initiatives in Contemporary African Art) en relation avec le Clark/MellonWorkshop à Johannesburg (Contemporary African Art : History, Theory, and Practice), avec Catherine David, Chika Okeke Agulu, Thembinkosi Goniwe, Mary Evans, Abdellah Karroum…

MARRAKECH, à l’Ecole Supérieure des Arts Visuels (Dar Bellarj)

Lundi 29 octobre

- 9h00-10h00: Ouverture. Avec Vincent Melilli, Abdellah Karroum
- 10h00 : Projection vidéo. Bouchra Khalili, « Vue aérienne » (2007) Atelier d’échanges sur l’enseignement des arts, avec Amy Horschak, Goddy Leye, Djamel Kokene, Malte Martin, Vincent Melilli…
- 15h30 visite de l’ESAV de Marrakech (nouveaux locaux)
- 16h00: Les enjeux de la création actuelle en « Afrique du Nord » la création contemporaine actuelle en Afrique du Nord et au Moyen Orient, suite des rencontres organisées par le MoMA à New York en avril 2007. Avec Klaus Bisenbach, Catherine David, Abdellah Karroum, Kamal Lazaar, Mustapha Laârissa. Aziz Daki intervient sur le marché de l’art au Maroc. 18h30 : Projection film. Hala Alabdalla Yacoub & Ammar Al Beik. (après la visite des nouveaux locaux de l’ESAV à Marrakech).

Mardi 30 octobre

- 9h00-10h00: Les questions de l’art à l’époque post-contemporaine seront traitées au regard de l’actualité des enjeux et de l’évolution des réseaux (Biennales, formation et uniformisation des écoles d’art, internationalisation des musées), avec Paul Ardenne, Hamdi Attia, Catherine David, Nina Folkersma…

- 10h30 : Projection. Andy Warhol, « Kiss » (présenté par Klaus Biesenbach)

- 11h00 Synthèse générale du Symposium et Clôture

Programme film et vidéos tous les soirs : Adel Abdessemed, Hala Alabdalla Yacoub & Ammar Al Beik, Bertrand Bonello, Daniel Chust, Amal Kenawy, Bouchra Khalili, Goddy Leye, José Luis Tirado, Andy Warhol, Sislej Xhafa…

List of Participants (curators, artists, researchers):

Benyounès Amirouche (journaliste) Paul Ardenne (critique d’art) Hamdi Attia, (artiste) Klaus Biesenbach (Curator, MoMA, NYC) Said Bouftass (enseignant ENA) Cécile Bourne (commissaire indépendante) Catherine David (commissaire indépendante) Aziz Daki (critique d’art) Marilyn Douala Bell (artiste) Elvira Dyangani Ose (commissaire, CAAC de Séville) Seamus Farrell (artiste) Nina Folkersma (commisaire SMAK) Amy Horschak (Departement educatif du MoMA) Abdellah Karroum (commissaire indépendant, fondateur de L’appartement 22) Djamel Kokene (artiste, fondateur de la revue Chekpoint) Latifa Laâbissi (artiste chorégraphe) Faouzi Laâtiris (artiste) Nadira Laggoune Aklouche (critique d’art et commissaire d’expositions) Mustapha Larissa (chercheur universitaire) Kamel Lazaar (collectionneur) Jay Levenson (commissaire MoMA) Goddy Leye (artiste) Malte Martin (graphiste et enseignant) Pauline de Mazières (fondatrice de L’Atelier à Rabat) Vincent Melili (directeur ESAV) Hamdi Ounaina (chercheur universitaire, EHESS) Younès Rahmoun (artiste) Didier Schaub (Directeur artistique de Doual’art, Douala) Eline van der Vlist (commissaire indépendante) Sandrine Wymann (commissaire indépendante) Stephen Wright (philosophe et critique d’art)

& (online) : Thembinkosi Goniwe, WITS University, Johannesburg Mary Evans (artiste) Chika Okeke Agulu (artist, art historian and curator) Sislej Xhafa (artiste)

Artistic and Academic Advisors: Catherine David, Commissaire d’expositions ; Mohamed El-Baz, artiste ; Jean-Louis Froment, Commissaire d’expositions ; Salah Hassan, Director and Professor, Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University.

Partners:

-  With the generous support of Fondation Janelly et Jean-René Fourtou, Marrakech, Morocco.
-  L’appartement 22, Rabat, Morocco.
-  ENA (National School of Architecture), Rabat, Morocco.
-  ESAV (National School of Visual Arts; www.esavmarrakech.com), Marrakech, Morocco.
-  Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA.
- Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University.
-  Les editions hors’champs (ww.hors-champs.net), Fez, Morocco.
-  SCAC (French Embassy in Morocco).
- S.M.A.K. (Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst), Gent. www.smak.be

(1) The term “post-contemporary” is further developed in the paper, “Des oeuvres nomads, vers une esthetique ‘post-contemporaine’ (Nomadic Works: Towards a ‘Post-Contemporary’ Aesthetic).” From a temporal point of view, the international era of contemporary art was in the second half of the twentieth century when questions of art and its autonomy were at the center of artistic propositions. By the definition or the reading of a post-contemporary era, we would like to open aesthetic and political fields to multiple practices, going as far as recognizing a certain relativity in art and its relationship to its contexts. It is therefore necessary to propose at least two different approaches: first, a contextual approach which focuses on the North African and Middle Eastern region and second, a critical and conceptual approach which interrogates artistic projects.

(2) Colloquium at the Institut Francais in Casablanca, Morocco, 27 – 30 April 2005. Directed by Dr. Abdellah Karroum and coordinated by Sandrine Wymann. See the publication “L’oeuvre plus que jamais (The artwork more than ever),” Editions Hors’champs, Fez, 2005.

(3) Colloquium organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 16 – 17 April 2007, with the participation of curators and art critics whose work focuses on North Africa and the Middle East.

Team of the Symposium : Abdellah Karroum (Director of The Symposium) ; Sandrine Wymann (Symposium Coordinator) ; Emma Chubb (Assistant)

L’appartement 22, Abdellah Karroum, 279, avenue Mohamed V, Rabat, Morocco