press release

Marrakech Biennale 5, under the artistic direction of Alya Sebti, is announcing 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.

The main theme of the 2014 edition investigates the subjective perspectives of Morocco today and its multiple axes of influence. This will be looked at in terms of how it relates to the idea of the contemporary as suggested by philosopher Peter Osborne in his essay The Fiction of the Contemporary: Speculative Collectivity and the Global Transnational (Pavilion, 2010). Through five concepts - and the work of The Atlas Group - Osborne explains that contemporary art fictionalizes its own authority and that this strategy leads to a global, transnational fiction of art.

Dutch-Moroccan curator Hicham Khalidi (1972, Kenitra, Morocco) will curate the visual arts exhibition of Marrakech Biennale 5, which will feature around 30 artists and showcase more than 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 Badi, which was commissioned by the sultan Ahmad al-Ansur in 1578, the 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.

Altogether, the displayed work will show that through fictional - and self-fictionalizing - strategies, Morocco can reinvent itself to ultimately look beyond the wearied dialogue of what is Western and what is Non-Western, to utilize contemporary art as a source of influence and prosperity. By mobilizing the idea of the relational nature of identity, the Biennale reveals the radical potential for national identity to create real change.

Participating artists (27.11.2013) Saadane Afif (1975, Vendome, FR), Wafae Ahalouch el Keriasti (1978, Tanger, MA), Mustapha Akrim (1981, Rabat, MA), Can and Asli Altay (1975, Ankara, TR), Jelili Atiku (1968, Ejigbo, NG), Kader Attia (1970, Dugny, FR), Hicham Benohoud (1968, Marrakech, MA), Katinka Bock (1976, Frankfurt/Main, DE), Keren Cytter (1977, Tel-Aviv, Il), Lily Reynaud Dewar (1975, La Rochelle, FR), Cevdet Erek (1974, Istanbul, TR), Eric Van Hove (1976, DZ), Iman Issa (1979, Cairo, EG), Hamid El Kenbouhi (1976, MA), Gabriel Lester (1972, Amsterdam, NL), Tala Madani (1981, Teheran, IR), Clara Meister (1981, Munich, DE), Agnes Meyer-Brandis (1973, Aaken, DE), Walid Raad (1967, Beirut, LB), Pamela Rosenkranz (1979 , Sils-Maria, CH), Khaled Sabsabi (1965, Tripoli, LB), Mounira Al Solh (1978, Beirut, LB) and Katarina Zdjelar (1979, Belgrade, RS).

About Hicham Khalidi Hicham Khalidi is a Dutch-Moroccan curator of contemporary art. From 2003 until 2011, he was artistic director of TAG (Audiovisual Art Institute in The Hague, The Netherlands). 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, and The Naked: a blog and event promoting a global vs. local understanding of the art world today. 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).

About 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. Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2014, The Marrakech Biennale is the first major biennale held in the Maghreb focusing on cutting-edge contemporary art, literature and film. The Biennale seeks to promote the status of the art and contemporary culture in North Africa and to make the creative scene of the region more dynamic, enabling discussions with and between artists, writers, filmmakers, actors, musicians, choreographs and architects. Held every two years, this non-state funded Biennale promotes intercultural and interdisciplinary exchanges through an educational approach that addresses both art professionals and the general public.