MACBA, Barcelona, Spain
24 Jan 2014 - 18 May 2014

MACBA presents the exhibition Before our Eyes – Other Cartographies of the Rif curated by Abdellah Karroum & Soledad Gutierrez.

With the project Before Our Eyes, MACBA explores the line of activities centred on the Mediterranean area – North Africa and the Middle East – and the emergence of new forms of civil society in the context of the Arab world. The project builds on a specific geography, the Rif Mountains, and an exchange between artists and the inhabitants of the Maghreb. Starting from this experience, it redraws the processes by which an artistic idea arises in a given context and reflects on the notion of authorship, the conditions for creating a work of art and its entry into a museum institution, that is to say, into history.

The project raises questions about how authorship is bounded within archival practices, how these are integrated into museum policies and how these two issues can illustrate a concrete social and political context. The exhibition invites different national and international artists to produce works that bring us closer to these areas of reflection and study. These areas of thinking are fundamental, not only to the understanding of the logic of the device, but in reflecting on the values of culture in relation to contemporary artistic creation and the tension between high and popular culture.

Accompanied by a seminar, a publication and a radio programme, the exhibition will present anonymous products generated in the geographical and cultural context of the Rif Valley, which, despite their aesthetic qualities, fall short of being considered works of art. It also presents the research project resulting from this exchange, looking at issues relating to the creative subject and the value of the work of art as object and as document. At the same time, it offers a theoretical reflection on the conditions of artistic production in this part of North Africa.

A seminar prior to the exhibition will present the primary material deriving from the research and provide the opportunity to initiate a debate around issues such as the value of the archive and the different types of patrimony generated in the creative processes: material, intangible, visual, literary, oral, etc. At the same time, it invites us to reflect on the historical and cultural exchange between the two shores of the Mediterranean outside the processes of national emancipation that the Maghreb has experienced in relation to European colonialism.

Publication on the occasion of the exhibition in Catalan, Castilian, Arabic and French. Radio programme presented in Spain (RWM – Radio Web MACBA) and Morocco (Radioappartement22).


Artists included in the show: Mustapha Akrim, Yto Barrada, Gabriella Ciancimino, Shezad Dawood, Ninar Esber, Patricia Esquivias, Camille Henrot, Mohamed Larbi Rahali, Grace Ndiritu, Younès Rahmoun, Francesc Ruiz y Oriol Vilanova.



Placa dels Angels 

108001 Barcelona


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