In ART

Marrakech, Morocco—From 14 May to 16 September a new exhibition evoking poetry and music is transforming the Musée Yves Saint Laurent (mYSLm) into an oasis of art.

The newly renovated mYSLm opened in 2017, today covers some 4,000 square meters of the French designer’s city. Located only a stone’s throw from the Majorelle Gardens, acquired by Yves Saint Laurent and his lifelong partner Pierre Bergé in 1980, mYSLm has quickly become a go-to destination for culture seekers visiting the Moroccan capital.

The museum contains mostly the permanent collection of garments dedicated to Saint Laurent’s work and legacy. The museum also includes space temporary exhibitions, including the first dedicated Jacques Majorelle’s Morocco, followed by The Sculptural Dresses of Noureddine Amir, and now Garden of Memory.

Musée Yves Saint Laurent

The newest exhibition hosted by mYSLm takes inspiration not from Saint Laurent’s garments or designs, but on the unique, sometimes tenuous friendship between him and Pierre Bergé, Saint Laurent’s patron and longtime business partner.

As a transformative figure who saw women’s fashion as reciprocal to liberation and female emancipation, Saint Laurent became iconic for garments like “Le Smoking”—the first tuxedo for women—which symbolized not only a new fashion aesthetic, but more importantly a bold new female attitude and mode.

As only the third temporary exhibition at mYSLm, Garden of Memory draws inspiration from the imagined conversations between Saint Laurent and Bergé, albeit filtered through the lens of contemporary art. Performance, in an expanded sense, including memory, object, form and sound.

The exhibition, curated by Mouna Mekouar, who last year brought Tino Sehgal to Marrakech to perform a 6-week variation of his infamous “constructed situations,” builds on direct interest in the ephemeral arts. In Garden of Memory, Mekouar returns to her home with an exhibition exploring the aesthetics of delicate, bodily communication and intimacy. Conceived as an ongoing conversation between three artists: Etel Adnan, Simone Fattal and Robert Wilson, Mekouar describes the project “as a non-linear narrative, a mental landscape, a choreography combining poetry, sound and sculpture.”

Inspired by Etel Adnan’s poem “Conversation with my soul (III),” read aloud by Robert Wilson over music by Michael Galasso, Simone Fattal’s sculptures – stelai, figures and angels – “discretely exalt the capacity for listening and understanding, for perceiving and recording,” Mekouar says.

Accordingly, the exhibition is not meant to be perceived by the individual works or speakers, but rather through the polyphony of voices that together encapsulate it as a collective whole. Their conversations underscore universal themes like friendship and love, equidistant to an exhibition bursting with emotion and intimacy.

Garden of Memory is currently on view at Musée Yves Saint Laurent in Marrakech until 16 September 2018.

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