Material Insanity

View of the exhibition Material Insanity at MACAAL. Work by artist Moffat Takadiwa. From 26 February to 22 September 2019. © Omar Tajmouati.
View of the exhibition Material Insanity at MACAAL. From 26 February to 22 September 2019. © Omar Tajmouati.

The Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL), Marrakech, presents from February 26 to September 22, 2019, Material Insanity, a group show exploring material and its symbolic significance in a plurality of dimensions and formal experiences. Opening on 26 February 2019, the exhibition contains works by 34 artists including Hassan Hajjaj (Morocco), Ibrahim Mahama (Ghana), Frances Goodman (South Africa) and Nari Ward (Jamaica – USA), working across varying mediums. Through installations made from everyday objects, including new pieces commissioned by MACAAL, the exhibition reveals how artists from the African continent and its diaspora relate biographies of objects and materials to reflect the social, political, or economic contexts of their lived experience.

The exhibition also invites a critical analysis that takes into account the impact of materiality on the world as a global village1 . Artists such as Moffat Takadiwa (Zimbabwe) and Yasmina Alaoui (France – Morocco) help us understand a society under the yoke of cultural devaluation and dematerialization in the digital age. Responding to current art movements which focus on the transient or intangible, works such as the monumental piece by Ibrahim Mahama (Ghana) made of jute bags originally used to transport raw materials, the performance YOU/STOP/WATCH: A Shiva Japam of Adrian Piper (United States), a critique of information saturation, and Cyrus Kabiru’s (Kenya) material reinvention of electronic waste in the form of sculptural eyewear, question the lasting effects of globalization and consumerism in the comtemporary climate. Reinvisioning materials often associated with trade and waste as artworks, artists including Nari Ward (Jamaica – USA), Olumide Onadipe (Nigeria) and Hassan Bourkia (Morocco) diversely use materiality as representations of memory, migration and tradition. Through their selected media they reveal the traces of many journeys and the multiplicity of individual stories.

The immersive scenography of the architect and artist Zineb Andress Arraki (Morocco) is based on an immaculate setting created by the continuity of the floors in which monoliths are born, supports of monumental works themselves punctuated by mirrors that multiply the perspectives. Freed from a predefined sense of visit, the spectator is thus invited to follow the path of his choice, according to a multitude of spatial and multisensory experiences.

View of the exhibition Material Insanity at MACAAL. From 26 February to 22 September 2019. © Omar Tajmouati.
View of the exhibition Material Insanity at MACAAL. From 26 February to 22 September 2019. © Omar Tajmouati.

For Material Insanity, Hassan Hajjaj (Morocco) has created an installation inspired by traditional Moroccan living spaces based on recovered elements and associated with pop culture. Le Salon (The living room) thus invites visitors to a domestic and friendly setting. The exhibition is comprised of powerful visual metaphors such as Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos’ olfactory creation and the audio-visual performance by Adrian Piper – that speaks to the viewer without intermediary of any kind, reminding us that “no talk that talks can substitute for direct, unguarded, and sustained exposure to the intuitive presence of the artwork on terms that cannot be talked at all”2.

View of the exhibition Material Insanity at MACAAL. From 26 February to 22 September 2019. © Omar Tajmouati.
View of the exhibition Material Insanity at MACAAL. From 26 February to 22 September 2019. © Omar Tajmouati.

The exhibition is curated by Meriem Berrada, Artistic Director at MACAAL & Head of Cultural Projects at Fondation Alliances & Janine Gaëlle Dieudji, Exhibitions Director at MACAAL.

Participants artists

  • Igshaan Adams (South Africa)
  • Amina Agueznay (Morocco)
  • Mustapha Akrim (Morocco)
  • Yasmina Alaoui (France – Morocco)
  • Zainab Andalibe (Morocco)
  • Clay Apenouvon (Togo)
  • Younes Baba-Ali (Morocco)
  • Takunda Regis Billiat (Zimbabwe)
  • Oli Bonzanigo (Italy)
  • M’barek Bouhchichi (Morocco)
  • Hassan Bourkia (Morocco)
  • Malek Gnaoui (Tunisia)
  • Frances Goodman (South Africa)
  • Hassan Hajjaj (Morocco)
  • Mohssin Harraki (Morocco)
  • Nicholas Hlobo (South Africa)
  • Cyrus Kabiru (Kenya)
  • Alexandra Karakashian (South Africa)
  • Bronwyn Katz (South Africa)
  • Kokoko! (DRC)
  • Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos (Greece – USA)
  • Adil Kourkouni (Morocco)
  • Mehdi-Georges Lahlou (France – Morocco)
  • Moshekwa Langa (South Africa)
  • Turiya Magadlela (South Africa)
  • Ibrahim Mahama (Ghana)
  • Olumide Onadipe (Nigeria)
  • Owanto (France – Gabon)
  • Adrian Piper (USA)
  • Jeremiah Quarshie (Ghana)
  • Moffat Takadiwa (Zimbabwe)
  • Arlene Wandera (Kenya – UK)
  • Nari Ward (Jamaica – USA)
  • Fatiha Zemmouri (Morocco)

In connection with the exhibition

Projects continue within the Museum space itself, with a pop up store created in conjunction with the Limiditi – Temporary art projects association. Mirroring the Material Insanity exhibition, the artists invited to collaborate reinvent ways of shaping materials, craft techniques or concepts while at the same time raising questions about the value of the artwork, art and their accessibility.

MACAAL’s garden plays host to Nicolas Henry’s installation Wasteland, a mixed media work made of second hand classical picture frames – elaborately carved and gilded from MACAAL’s construction scraps. Alongside Material Insanity, MACAAL presents several satellite initiatives including People of Tamba, an open air public art installation of 2 x 3 m photographic prints pasted on the walls of the Marrakech Medina. The photography project aims to create a typological catalogue of the society of Tambacounda, the largest city in eastern Senegal and the point of departure for the majority of Senegalese clandestine migrants. The project has been realised with the support of The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Le Korsa and Marock’Jeunes Association. 

1 – Expression by Marshall McLuhan in The Medium is the Massage (1967).

Material Insanity
26 February 2019 – 22 September 2019
Museum of African Contemporary Art Al-Maden (MACAAL), Al Maaden, Sidi Youssef Ben Ali, 40000
Tuesday – Sunday, 10h – 18h

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The Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden in Marrakech is an independent, non-profit museum of contemporary art. One of the first of its kind on the continent, MACAAL is dedicated to the promotion of contemporary art through various exhibition and mediation programmes designed for broad public appeal. In addition to the permanent collection, exhibitions cast new light upon art that dialogues with the continent, presenting both emerging and established artists, of African and international origin. The Museum thus promotes the understanding of contemporary art, revealing the creative energy and cultural diversity that are characteristic of the continent.

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