Dr Abdellah Karroum, 2018. Photo by Dimitri Salomao

CROSSING WORLDS, CURATING WORLD

Art could be anything imagined as such by anyone able to perceive the world through this same “anything”: a painting, a combination of movements, a group of composed words, a selected object.

Curating often comes after art, but sometimes it emerges with it, in the same places with the same shared perceptions, memory, and trauma.

The closest field to describe curating is publishing. Art is for the curator what literature is for the editor. Writing words is as multiplicitous as the diversity of artistic expressions. There is no art without trauma. There is no trauma without life experience. This is what the curating experience tells us when we visit exhibitions and look at art works.

The first layer in the following visual and curatorial essay is one of the possible readings; it is not replacing the artists’ initial ideas and it is not disorienting the viewers’ gaze and reading from their relationship with art. Looking at the art as a reflection on society allows a closer connection to the present human condition.

This proximity with the initial idea of art means a radical rupture with the conventional presentation of art objects, and therefore from the exclusive spaces of display. In fact, art objects are containers of trauma and perceptions translated into materialised ideas.

The second layer is a thinking about exhibition making and curating in times of crises, reflecting on the ecological crisis and on social ecology. This is not new. The making of exhibitions and their presentation in museums creates a place where people of a city can see, in display cabinets and gallery space, objects and images brought form faraway places. The souk and marketplace were the fair and temporary museum of many cities: Baghdad, Marrakesh, Zanzibar, Venice, Constantinople, Mexico, and more recently, Paris, New York, and Shanghai. Arguably, exhibitions can fold together both such layers, uniting the origins of the objects’ meaning and experience of making, as well as the stories of the viewer, connecting production, imaginary and real, with spaces of encounter and experience.

LOOKING AT THE WORLD AROUND YOU

Danh Vō, We the People (détail), 2011. Sculpture, cuivre, 265 x 236 x 133 cm, Vue de l’exposition « Notre monde brûle », Palais de Tokyo (21.02 – 17.05.2020) Collection particulière © Adagp, Paris, 2020. Photo : Aurélien Mole
Danh Vō, We the People (détail), 2011. Sculpture, cuivre, 265 x 236 x 133 cm, Vue de l’exposition « Notre monde brûle », Palais de Tokyo (21.02 – 17.05.2020) Collection particulière © Adagp, Paris, 2020. Photo : Aurélien Mole
Mustapha Akrim, “Construction (Al-Huriyya)”, 2020, metal, concrete, dimensions variable. Collection of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha.
Mustapha Akrim, “Construction (Al-Huriyya)”, 2020, metal, concrete, dimensions variable. Collection of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha.

OUR WORLD IS BURNING

Exhibition view works by Baya, Mona Hatoum, Ismail Fattah, Yan Pei-Ming.
Exhibition view works by Baya, Mona Hatoum, Ismail Fattah, Yan Pei-Ming.
Exhibition view, « Our World is Burning », Palais de Tokyo (21.02 – 17.05.2020) - Danh Vō, We the People (detail), 2011, copper, 265 x 236 x 133 cm - Amal Kenawy, The Silent Multitudes, 2010, steel, LGP gas tanks, video, 300 x 600 x 400 cm - Inji Efflatoun, Greeting to South Lebanon Bride, 1985, oil on canvas, 70 x 50 cm - Mustapha Akrim, Sculptures-mots, 2019, 150 x 100 x 50 cm Photo: Aurélien Mole
Exhibition view, « Our World is Burning », Palais de Tokyo (21.02 – 17.05.2020)
– Danh Vō, We the People (detail), 2011, copper, 265 x 236 x 133 cm
– Amal Kenawy, The Silent Multitudes, 2010, steel, LGP gas tanks, video, 300 x 600 x 400 cm
– Inji Efflatoun, Greeting to South Lebanon Bride, 1985, oil on canvas, 70 x 50 cm
– Mustapha Akrim, Sculptures-mots, 2019, 150 x 100 x 50 cm
Photo: Aurélien Mole
Bady Dalloul, A country without door or a window, 2016-2019. Exhibition view of « Our World is Burning », Palais de Tokyo (21.02 – 17.05.2020). Photo: Aurélien Mole
Bady Dalloul, A country without door or a window, 2016-2019. Exhibition view of « Our World is Burning », Palais de Tokyo (21.02 – 17.05.2020). Photo: Aurélien Mole
Bady Dalloul, A country without door or a window, 2016-2019. Exhibition view of « Our World is Burning », Palais de Tokyo (21.02 – 17.05.2020). Photo: Aurélien Mole
Bady Dalloul, A country without door or a window, 2016-2019. Exhibition view of « Our World is Burning », Palais de Tokyo (21.02 – 17.05.2020). Photo: Aurélien Mole
Basim Magdy, No Shooting Stars, 2016, Super 16mm and GIF animations transferred to Full HD. 14 min. 25 sec. (co-commissioned by Jeu de Paume, Paris, Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques and CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux)
Basim Magdy, No Shooting Stars, 2016, Super 16mm and GIF animations transferred to Full HD. 14 min. 25 sec. (co-commissioned by Jeu de Paume, Paris, Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques and CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux)
Fabrice Hyber, Le musée du plastique, 2005-2020. Installation. Exhibition view, « Our World is Burning », Palais de Tokyo (21.02 – 17.05.2020). Courtesy of the artist & Adagp Paris Photo: Marc Domage
Fabrice Hyber, Le musée du plastique, 2005-2020. Installation. Exhibition view, « Our World is Burning », Palais de Tokyo (21.02 – 17.05.2020). Courtesy of the artist & Adagp Paris. Photo: Marc Domage
Aslı Çavuşoğlu, The Place of Stone, 2018. Exhibition view of « Our World is Burning », Palais de Tokyo (21.02 – 17.05.2020). Fresco on aerolam panels, 125 x 125 cm each. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Aurélien Mole
Aslı Çavuşoğlu, The Place of Stone, 2018. Exhibition view of « Our World is Burning », Palais de Tokyo (21.02 – 17.05.2020). Fresco on aerolam panels, 125 x 125 cm each. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Aurélien Mole
Mounira Al Solh, I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous, 2012 – on going. Mixed media, drawing on legal paper, variable dimensions. Exhibition view of « Our World is Burning », Palais de Tokyo (21.02 – 17.05.2020). Photo: Aurélien Mole
Mounira Al Solh, I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous, 2012 – on going. Mixed media, drawing on legal paper, variable dimensions. Exhibition view of « Our World is Burning », Palais de Tokyo (21.02 – 17.05.2020). Photo: Aurélien Mole

LOOKING AT THE WORLD AROUND YOU

Baya, Danse, 1946 Gouache sur papier, 47,5 x 62x5 cm. Collection Mathaf : Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha.
Baya, Danse, 1946 Gouache sur papier, 47,5 x 62×5 cm. Collection Mathaf : Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha.

GENERATION 00

Yto Barrada, Sidi Hssein, Beni Said fig. 1, Rif_2009-2011_C-Print _150 x 150 cm. Courtesy of the Artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut.
Yto Barrada, Sidi Hssein, Beni Said fig. 1, Rif_2009-2011_C-Print _150 x 150 cm. Courtesy of the Artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut.
Yto Barrada, Route de l’unité (Unity Road), 2001, C-Print, 80 x 80 cm. Courtesy of the Artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut.
Yto Barrada, Route de l’unité (Unity Road), 2001, C-Print, 80 x 80 cm. Courtesy of the Artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut.

OUR WORLD IS BURNING

Bouthayna Al Muftah, Echo II, 2020, installation in-situ, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2020.
Bouthayna Al Muftah, Echo II, 2020, installation in-situ, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2020.

MOROCCAN TRILOGY

Fatima Hassan, Scene, 1992, gouache on paper, 142 x 285 cm. Collection Fondation Al Mada, Morocco.
Fatima Hassan, Scene, 1992, gouache on paper, 142 x 285 cm. Collection Fondation Al Mada, Morocco.
Sara Ouhaddou, Sin ithran, ur mqadan, rousn / Deux astres, au déséquilibre, se brulent, 2020. Circular stained glass, cedar wooden frame, steel strapping, Ø 130 cm & Ø 230 cm. Exhibition view, « Our World is Burning », Palais de Tokyo (21.02 – 17.05.2020). Courtesy of the artist
Sara Ouhaddou, Sin ithran, ur mqadan, rousn / Deux astres, au déséquilibre, se brulent, 2020. Circular stained glass, cedar wooden frame, steel strapping, Ø 130 cm & Ø 230 cm. Exhibition view, « Our World is Burning », Palais de Tokyo (21.02 – 17.05.2020). Courtesy of the artist
Faraj Daham, Street Language, 2012. Diptych, mixed media on canvas, 180 x 400 cm. Exhibition view of « Our World is Burning », Palais de Tokyo (21.02 – 17.05.2020). Courtesy of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art (Doha). Photo: Marc Domage
Faraj Daham, Street Language, 2012. Diptych, mixed media on canvas, 180 x 400 cm. Exhibition view of « Our World is Burning », Palais de Tokyo (21.02 – 17.05.2020). Courtesy of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art (Doha). Photo: Marc Domage

TRIUMPHANT SCALE – CURATED BY OKWUI ENWEZOR

El Anatsui, Black Block, 2010, Aluminum and copper wire, 527 x 345.4cm. Collection of Brooklyn Museum, New York
El Anatsui, Black Block, 2010, Aluminum and copper wire, 527 x 345.4cm. Collection of Brooklyn Museum, New York
El Anatsui, Red Block, 2010, Aluminum and copper wire, 510.5 x 334cm. Collection of Broad Art Foundation, Los Angeles
El Anatsui, Red Block, 2010, Aluminum and copper wire, 510.5 x 334cm. Collection of Broad Art Foundation, Los Angeles

GENERATION 00

Younes Rahmoun, Jabal-Hajar-Turab, exhibition view at MNCARS (Reina Sofia), 2021.
Younes Rahmoun, Jabal-Hajar-Turab, exhibition view at MNCARS (Reina Sofia), 2021.

DR ABDELLAH KARROUM
Director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

Abdellah Karroum has been the Director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha since 2013.
Karroum is the founder and artistic director of a number of art initiatives, including L’appartement 22 in Rabat, Morocco.

He has also curated numerous exhibitions, such as, most recently, <em>Moroccan Trilogy 1950- 2020</em> at MNCARS (Reina Sofia) in Madrid (2021), <em>Our World Is Burning</em> (2020) at Palais de Tokyo, Paris; <em>Revolution Generations</em> (2018), <em>Shakir Hassan Al Said: The Wall</em> (2017), <em>Wael Shawky: Crusades and Other Stories</em> (2015), <em>Farid Belkahia: Aube(s)</em> (2015), and <em>Shirin Neshat: Afterwards</em> (2014).

He was artistic director of <em>Inventing the World: The Artist as Citizen</em> for the Biennale Benin (2012); curator of <em>Sous nos yeux [Before Our Eyes] </em>at La Kunsthalle de Mulhouse, France (2013) and at the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (2014); and associate curator of <em>Intense Proximity</em> for La Triennale, Paris (2012).

Other curatorial and research projects Karroum has led include the Sentences on the Banks and other activities at Darat Al-Funun, Amman (2010); A Proposal for Articulating Works and Places for the 3rd Biennale of Marrakech (2009); the R22 art experimental web radio station established in 2007; Le Bout Du Monde art expeditions (ongoing since 2000); and the Editions hors’champs series of art publications established in 1999.

He received his PhD in Communication, Art and Performance from the Michel de Montaigne University, Bordeaux in 2001 with a dissertation titled “Nomadic Works: Towards a Post-Contemporary Art”. He is a regular contributor to specialised art publications.

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