Largest ever survey of modern and contemporary culture from Morocco at Reina Sofia Museum Madrid
April 13 2021 11:12 PM
Largest ever survey of modern and contemporary culture from Morocco at Reina Sofia Museum Madrid
Largest ever survey of modern and contemporary culture from Morocco at Reina Sofia Museum Madrid

* The exhibition is being presented in collaboration with Mathaf-Qatar Museums

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid presents Moroccan Trilogy: 1950-2020, a sweeping survey of the culture of Morocco from the 1950s to the present day, running until September 27, in a unique collaboration with Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art – Qatar Museums and Qatar Foundation.

The show features more than 250 works by 60 artists, including a series of important works from the collection of Mathaf, as well as archival material drawn from private and public collections. The exhibition also premieres or re-activates a number of works, and includes several new commissions.

The exhibition is co-curated by Manuel Borja-Villel, director of the Reina Sofia Museum, and Abdellah Karroum, director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha.

Moroccan Trilogy 1950-2020 looks at modern and contemporary art and culture in Morocco’s major urban centres including Tangier, Tetouan and Casablanca, from the immediate post-independence period of the 1950s to the pre-revolutions era of the new millennia.

Divided into three chapters, historical timeframes defined by major societal shifts, the exhibition examines the interdisciplinary domains of art, literature, film, architecture, theatre, and music and their personal and professional networks.

The first chapter covers the period 1950-1969, during the struggle for independence and following forty years of French and Spanish colonial rule, presenting historical works that defined new tendencies of anti-colonial art practices in the 1960s, including a radical revision of the Fine Art Schools with a futurist perspective. Among them are: Farid Belkahia (1934-2014), Chaibia Talal (1929-2004), Mohamed Melehi (1936-2020).

The second period, from 1970-1999, encompasses the so-called Years of Lead, and is among the most violent in Morocco’s recent history, including the uprisings of 1981 and 1984 as a consequence of the political and economic crisis. The featured artists are Mohamed Kacimi (1942-2003), Latifa Toujani (b. 1948), Leila Kilani (b. 1970).

The third period from 2000-2020, focuses on the work of artists and activists, marking the rise of populist political parties, the Casablanca terrorist attacks in 2003 and the Arab Spring, defining an era of radical change, mass uprising and technological development.

The featured artists are Mounir Fatmi (b. 1970), Yto Barrada (b. 1971), Hicham Benohoud (b. 1968), Younes Rahmoun (b. 1975), Yassine Balbzioui (b. 1972), Sara O’Haddou (b. 1986) and Safaa Erruas (b. 1976).

The exhibition also includes works by artists who worked as outsiders and developed unique and poetic vocabularies. Tangier was an international creative centre of the Beat Generation and anti-war movements, and has been a base for artists such as Khalil El Ghrib, Abbas Saladi. El Ghrib (b. 1948) and Abbas Saladi (1950 – 1992).

Abdellah Karroum, curator of the exhibitions and director of Mathaf, said: “This historical exhibition is part of a larger ongoing research programme that is constantly expanding. This first presentation in a museum context seeks to amplify the artists’ perspective of a turbulent period in the history of Morocco, and has been developed in close collaboration with the Reina Sofia Museum over the last three years.”

A new book will be published to coincide with the exhibition with contributions by key figures associated with the period, as well as an extensive public programme. Among those taking part are: Tina Barouti, art historian; Omar Berrada, writer, curator; Manual Borja-Villel, director, Reina Sofia Museum; Ali Essafi, documentary film-maker; Driss Ksikes, journalist, literary critic; Abdellatif Laabi, poet; Abdellah Karroum, Curator; Kenza Sefrioui, cultural journalist, literary critic and publisher; Abdellah Taia, writer and filmmaker; Selma Zerhouni, architect and journalist.

The exhibition Moroccan Trilogy 1950-2020 has been organised within the framework of the programme for cultural co-operation between Spain and Morocco in the field of Museums, an initiative fostered by the National Foundation of Museums of the Kingdom of Morocco and the Ministry of Culture and Sport of the Government of Spain, in collaboration with Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art – Qatar Museums and Qatar Foundation.

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