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School of Casablanca – ifa-Galerie Berlin, KW Institute for Contemporary Art & ThinkArt | 15.02.-12.05.2024

Editors’ Choice

School of Casablanca is a collaborative project between ifa-Galerie Berlin, KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin) and ThinkArt (Casablanca), supported by the Sharjah Art Foundation, the Goethe-Institut Morocco and Zamân Books & Curating. Launched in 2020, the project takes up the innovative approaches of the Casablanca School of Art from the 1960s and sheds light on a decisive turning point in Moroccan art history after independence in 1956. The opening will take place on 15 February 2024, followed by an artist talk with the artists and curators on 16 February 2024.

Image above: Manuel Raeder Casablanca Street Furniture, Exhibition School of Casablanca, Artistic Practice & Everyday Life, Le parc de la Ligue arabe, 2023, Photo: Ayoub Bouibaden

During this time, Casablanca developed a completely new self-image and radically broke with tradition. The Casablanca School of Art played a key role in this development with its modern approaches, artistic ideas and pedagogical methods. Among other things, it drew on Walter Gropius’ Bauhaus Manifesto from 1919 and became a pioneering forum.

DEEDS NEWS - ifa Galerie Berlin - SOC_Nassim_Azarzar_Foto-Ayoub_Bouibaden
Nassim Azarzar All Things Flow, Exhibition School of Casablanca, L’École Supérieure des beaux-arts de Casablanca, 2023., Photo: Ayoub Bouibaden

School of Casablanca builds on the ideas, traditions and questions of the Casablanca Art School and anchors them in today’s and contemporary thinking. In the twenty-first century, too, the question arises as to how the role and significance of art and design in society can be redefined. Which institutions, art and design colleges, which practices and forms of learning do we currently need? How do we produce knowledge and how do we share it? What is a collective learning process?

The project started in 2020 with a residency programme: Over the past few years, the invited participants – artists, designers, curators and independent academics – have researched and worked on the School of Casablanca exhibition project in Casablanca. They rethought the social function and visibility of art in public space and communicated their cultural practices to the urban public in workshops, discussion events, city walks and interventions.

DEEDS NEWS - ifa Galerie Berlin - SOC - Celine Condorellii - Foto-Ayoub_Bouibaden-min
Céline Condorelli Integrations (studies), Exhibition School of Casablanca, Modernist Aesthetics & Popular Art, La Coupole, 2023, Photo: Ayoub Bouibaden 

The participants took up the radicality of the ideas and actions that characterised the school at its peak (1964-1969), renewed them and also shed light on the individual actors such as Farid Belkahia (1934-2014), Mohammed Chabâa (1935-2013), Bert Flint (1931-2022), Toni Maraini and Mohamed Melehi (1936-2020). They also invoke the spirit of experimentation, discourse, self-organisation and community building embodied by the now iconic Moroccan cultural magazine Souffles. Bik Van der Pol (Rotterdam), Céline Condorelli (London), Fatima-Zahra Lakrissa (Rabat), Manuel Raeder (Berlin), Marion von Osten (Berlin), who died in 2020, and Abdeslam Ziou Ziou (Casablanca) also reconsidered the social function and visibility of art in public space. Peter Spillmann (Berlin) continued Marion von Osten’s legacy and drew on their joint, research-based and pioneering practice, which focuses on collective working methods and self-organised forms of knowledge production and dissemination.

This was followed in November 2023 by an exhibition in Casablanca at five locations. The eponymous exhibition School of Casablanca at ifa-Galerie Berlin brings the concept and project back to Berlin. The exhibition creates a dialogue between the works commissioned by the cooperation partners and the extensively researched archive materials, operates in the present and at the same time reflects on the past.

DEEDS NEWS - ifa Galerie Berlin - SOC - Abdeslam Ziou Ziou - Foto Ayoub Bouibaden
Abdeslam Ziou Ziou Berrechid 81: On the energy of an impeded movement, Exhibition School of Casablanca, Modernist Aesthetics & Popular Art, L’Annexe de l’église du Sacré-cœur, 2023, Photo: Ayoub Bouibaden

With works by: Bik Van der Pol, Céline Condorelli, Fatima-Zahra Lakrissa und Gilles Aubry, Manuel Raeder, Marion von Osten, Peter Spillmann, Abdeslam Ziou Ziou with Fatine Arafati, Sophia Attigui, Grocco-Trick 54 and Nassim Azarzar 

Curators: Salma Lahlou, independent curator and founder of ThinkArt, Casablanca; Krist Gruijthuijsen, director of KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; and Inka Gressel, co-director of ifa-Galerie Berlin

WHEN?

Opening: Thursday, 15. February 2024, 7.00 pm

Exhibition: Thursday, 15. February – Sunday, 12. May 2024
Tue – Sun 2:00 – 6:00 pm
Thu 2:00 – 8:00 pm 

Artist Talk: Friday, 16. February, 4.00 pm, with the artists and curators

WHERE?

ifa-Galerie Berlin
Linienstraße 139/140
10115 Berlin-Mitte

COSTS?

Admission free 

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