THE MOROCCO FACES, BY LEILA ALAOUI

Although much of the program has already finished, PhotoEspaña still has exhibitions to offer. We recommend that you take advantage of these last days to enjoy some excellent showings. We highlight the work of Leila Alaoui, which can be seen in the Arab House until September 22nd.

Leila Alaoui, “Esauira”, 2012

The exhibition "The Moroccans" has been organised thanks to the collaboration of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco and the Leila Alaoui Foundation. It puts together 30 stunning portraits that the photographer made between 2010 and 2014, within a personal project in which she tried to reflect the reality of her country and the power of the look of the individual. Fleeing from the traditional image that pays attention to the contextual elements, she sought to capture the essence of the person and, at the same time, to reflect the details of a way of life, of culture and traditions condensed in the chosen outfit and clothing.

Leila Alaoui, “Moulay Abdeslam”, 2010

This project could not be understood without knowing part of the life of the Franco-Moroccan photographer. Leila was born in Paris but spent her childhood and youth in Marrakech. At that time, her imagination was feeding on the persistent stories of emigrants that seek a better life venturing through the Mediterranean and the tragedy associated with these forced trips, often frustrated and risky. With the passing of the years and her inclination towards photography, Leila saw in this artistic discipline the possibility of generating a discourse of social awareness that would allow her to bring to light many of the stories she had heard as a child and that still were, in the 21st century, entirely common.

“Tameslohte” (Marrakech-Safi 2010) ©Leila Alaoui Foundation

Fully focused on social photography, her work has mostly been developed in the North African countries of the Mediterranean basin. With diverse themes that seek a sort of social justice through the image, her narrative has dealt with emigration, refugee movements, women's inequality, interculturality or national identity. One of her characteristic techniques was to set up an improvised photography studio in the street and invite anyone who wanted to be portrayed. Many of her projects have had the selfless collaboration of numerous citizens, attracted by her equal speech and proximity.

Leila Alaoui, “Plaza de Yamaa el Fna”, 2011

In "The Moroccans", an exhibition curated by the writer and critic Guillaume de Sardes, the humanistic and committed nature of Leila's work is evident. Her photographs want to be the voice of many who have no chance to speak. Her portraits are direct, genuine encounters with people who openly look at the camera to hardly offer their faces surrounded by traditional fabrics. Each look invites us to reconstruct a personal story, but at the same time shared by all of them, which tells us about a common history.

Unfortunately, Leila Alaoui died in 2016 after an attack in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), a city where she was working on a project proposed by Amnesty International on the status of women. Her work visits our country for the first time in a beautiful tribute to her social commitment and her talent as a photographer.

 

The cultural agenda gradually recovers after the health-crisis halt and art lovers are eager to enjoy the rich cultural offer that the different spaces and museums throughout our geography have to offer. In addition, one must remember that these centres have made an enormous effort to adapt to the demands that the new situation imposes and have created abundant online-accessible content to overcome confinement. We bring you a selection of content that can be visited both in person and through the web. There is no excuse for not enjoying contemporary art again.

Olafur Eliasson, “En la vida real (In real life)”, 2019

The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao continues with its exhibition dedicated to Olafur Eliasson and offers numerous resources to understand not only the exhibition but also the work of the centre in the assembly and installation process. The website allows us to expand content with interviews with the artist, the download of the audio guide and the vision of the curator Lucía Aguirre, who offers us different video-pills on the pieces in the exhibition.

"Olafur Eliasson: in real life" brings together a part of this artist's work since 1990 through sculptures, photographs, paintings and installations that play with reflections and colours. Likewise, the integration of elements such as moss, water, ice, fog... put the visitor in a situation that confuses the senses and tries to challenge the way we perceive our environment and move in it.

Regina de Miguel, “Isla Decepción”, 2017

The Botín Centre in Santander hosts the exhibition "Collecting processes: 25 years of Itineraries" which brings together the work of 25 of the 210 scholarship recipients who, to date, have enjoyed the Botín Foundation Plastic Arts Scholarship, started in 1993. With the works Lara Almárcegui, Basma Alsharif, Leonor Antunes, Javier Arce, Erick Beltrán, David Bestué, Bleda and Rosa, Nuno Cera, Patricia Dauder, Patricia Esquivias, Karlos Gil, Carlos Irijalba, Adrià Julià, Juan López, Rogelio López Cuenca, Renata Lucas, Mateo Maté, Jorge Méndez Blake, Regina de Miguel, Leticia Ramos, Fernando Sánchez Castillo, Teresa Solar Abboud, Leonor Serrano Rivas, Jorge Yeregui, David Zink-Yi, the exhibition is a good example of up-to-date and young contemporary art contributed by artists with very diverse profiles.

Clemente Bernad. Series “Ante el umbral”, Madrid, 2020

The Reina Sofía Museum wanted to create a visual chronicle of what the confinement and the tragic numbers of infected and deceased have meant for the lives of many of us: a tale of pain, nostalgia and uncertainty made by the photographer Clemente Bernad. This exhibition, curated by Jorge Moreno Andrés, is entitled “Before the threshold”, a title that expresses the strange sensation that occurs when faced with something new and unknown, something that we cannot control or avoid, and that we all must go through. The alteration imposed on our lives unexpectedly is reflected in the streets, transformed into places of solitude and abandonment where life has been paralysed.

Mario Merz / No title, Triplo Igloo, 1984 MAXXI Collection

At the IVAM, the exhibition "What is our home?" brings together works from the IVAM collection and the MAXXI centre in Rome to propose a reflection on the space we inhabit seen from a personal and social perspective. It is about investigating the value that these spaces have as a home or refuge, as well as part of a city or community.

The exhibition, curated by José Miguel G. Cortés, also wants to delve into the feeling of those who feel like foreigners anywhere, because they do not identify with the habits or customs of the society, they do not fit into these social patterns, and home becomes the only shelter space that can adapt to their identity needs.

Martha Rosler, frame from “Backyard Economy I-II”, 1974 © Courtesy of Martha Rosler, 2020

Es Baluard Museu is committed to video creation and performance and hosts the monographic exhibition “Martha Rosler. How do we get there from here?” dedicated to this New York artist who pioneered the use of video as a mechanism for social and political analysis. This exhibition includes various works, from video to photography and several publications, which synthesise her main lines of discourse. Her concern for public policies and the social equality of women has led her to actively participate in numerous social movements in La Havana, New York, Mexico DC or Barcelona, and these experiences are present in one way or another in her work.

With the curatorship of Inma Prieto, a selection has been made within the abundant production of this artist, which presents one of the most coherent careers in towards-the-new-Millenium contemporary art.

Image from file, via meiac.es/turbulence/archive/acceso.html

The MEIAC - Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo, host the works of the prestigious international digital art archive "Turbulence", a platform dedicated to network and hybrid art. In view of the inevitable closure of this institution, the MEIAC has offered to host all this valuable content collected since 1996. The uploading of the file also served as an opportunity to restore numerous pieces and convert formats so that files that had become obsolete remain readable by new systems. A huge job of conservation and updating that can be enjoyed online today. The archive is made up of hundreds of digital works from around the world that can now be visited remotely.