2012 announces dates and appoints curators

2012 announces dates and appoints curators

Arts in Marrakech Biennale

Curators, Carson Chan and Nadim Samman. Photo by item idem.

February 26, 2011

2012 announces dates and appoints curators

Arts in Marrakech Biennale

29 February–4 March 2012

Higher Atlas
29 February–3 June 2012
Curated by Nadim Samman and Carson Chan


Arts in Marrakech Biennale is pleased to announce the dates for the 4th Edition of Arts in Marrakech Biennale, 29 February–4 March with the Main Visual Arts Exhibitions running from the 29 February–3 June.

Arts in Marrakech works to form cultural bridges and dialogues creating a forum for debate, free thinking and the exchange of ideas through contemporary Visual Art, Literature and Film. The opening 5 days will be titled Surrender and will consist of Performances, Debates, Talks and Screenings as well as the opening of the Main Visual Arts Exhibition.

Higher Atlas will be the title of the Main Visual Arts Exhibition and The Arts In Marrakech organizing committee is proud to announce the appointment of Nadim Samman and Carson Chan as curators of the Exhibition. It will be held for the first time at the historic El Badi Palace and throughout the former Imperial city. The exhibition will be open for three months.

Nadim Samman (1983) is an independent curator and art historian based in London. He read Philosophy at University College London before undertaking a doctorate at the Courtauld Institute of Art. He has written for publications including Third Text, The Art Newspaper, Art Review (Online), Contemporary, Asian Affairs, Art India, Erotic Review, Naked Punch and WestEast. He has also been an invited speaker at MoMA Warsaw, the 2009 Beijing Biennale, Christies and SoAs. His curatorial projects in London, Moscow, Berlin and Zurich have included presentations of leading Russian modern and contemporary artists, emerging international talent and, recently, a large-scale photography exhibition at Somerset House (London) under the patronage of HRH Prince William. In June 2011 Nadim co-curates One of A Thousand Ways to Defeat Entropy, an Official Collateral Project of the 54th Venice Biennale, held at the Arsenale Novissimo.

Carson Chan (1980) is an architecture writer and curator. Chan studied design, history and theory of architecture at both Cornell and Harvard University, where he received a Master’s in the History and Theory of Architecture. After working at Barkow Leibinger Architects and the Neue Nationalgalerie’s architecture exhibitions department in Berlin, with Fotini Lazaridou-Hatzigoga, he founded PROGRAM in 2006, a non-commercial initiative for art and architecture collaborations. He has variously curated and overseen more than 30 international exhibitions of contemporary art and architecture. His writing on art, architecture and contemporary culture appears in books and periodicals worldwide, including Kaleidoscope and 032c (Berlin), where he is also a contributing editor. Chan has interviewed a broad range of contemporary practitioners, including Thomas Demand, Udo Kittelmann, Adam Caruso, Olafur Eliasson, William T. Vollmann, MVRDV, Greg Lynn, Kevin Kelly, Rick Owens, and David Simon. He has recently lectured at the Schaulager (Basel), GAMeC (Bergamo), 12th Venice Architecture Biennial/Nordic Pavilion, Bund Deutsche Architekten (Berlin), 0047 (Oslo) and he will be speaking at the Fondazione Ratti (Como) this spring. Chan is an active advisor to several cultural institutions including DLD (Munich), Europan, and the Premio Furla—a biennial prize given to the most promising emerging artists in Italy. In 2008 he organized an evening of panel discussions at the Neue Nationalgalerie (Berlin) with leading artists, architects and curators to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Mies van der Rohe building. He is currently working on a series of essays on exhibition making in both art and architecture.

Higher Atlas
Opening on February 29, 2012.

High connotes reverie and transcendence. Higher Atlas suggests a cartography of the beyond. The title also refers to the local geography—the Atlas Mountains, which are visible from the venue—and, more generally, the exhibition location. In this respect the ruined 16th century Badi Palace is the starting point or ‘ground’ for a series of trips, both virtual and physical. The show will emphasize site-specific interventions by international contemporary artists and architects.

Occupying a large plot on the Southern quarter of Marrakesh, El Badi Palace was commissioned by Ahmad al-Mansur, the sultan of Morocco in the Saadi dynasty. The construction began in 1578 and it took 25 years to complete. Few of its 360 rooms—lavishly decorated by European craftsmen with cedar, semi-precious stones, gold from Sudan, and marble from Italy—have survived, but the palace’s defining courtyard remains. Courtyards are characteristic of traditional Moroccan architecture, but the El Badi boasts the biggest.

Arts in Marrakech
First held in November 2005, the Arts in Marrakech (AiM) International Biennale is the first major trilingual (English, Arabic and French) festival in North Africa focusing on cutting-edge contemporary art, literature and film. The AiM International Biennale seeks to promote the status of the artist and contemporary culture in North Africa and to dynamize the regional creative scene, enabling discussions with and between artists. Held every two years, the AiM International Biennale promotes inter-cultural and inter-disciplinary exchanges through an educational approach that addresses art professionals, students and the general public.

Participants to past editions have included Adel Abdesemmed, Francis Alys, John Boorman, Kim Cattrall, Jake & Dinos Chapman, William Dalrymple, Tracey Emin, Isaac Julien, Joseph Kosuth, Hanif Kureishi, Annie Lennox, Sarah Lucas, Julien Schnabel, Wael Shawky, Zadie Smith, Guy Tillim and Gavin Turk.

The Arts in Marrakech International Biennale is run by the AiM Association, a non-profit organization registered in Morocco (FGM/1215).

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February 26, 2011

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