The Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden, aka MACAAL, in Marrakech (Morocco), inaugurates Material Insanity, a group exhibition on view from February 26 to September 22, involving none other than thirty-four different artists who explore materiality and its symbolic significance in a plurality of dimensions and formal experiences. Because waste is the direct result of devaluation, isn’t it?
Made from everyday objects, shaped with the things we see, touch and use almost every day, Material Insanity reveals how artists from the African continent and its diaspora relate or re-imagine biographies of objects and materials to reflect the social, political, or economic contexts of their lived experience. The exhibition evokes a critical analysis of past and present society by considering the impact of materiality on the world and its future, and it serves as a cultural response to the devaluation in a clearly increasing digital era.

MACAAL is an independent, not-for-profit contemporary art museum, one of the first of its kind on the continent. It is dedicated to the promotion of African art through its diverse exhibition and education programs, cultivating the interest and engagement of a young and wide audience base. The group show is curated by Meriem Berrada, Artistic Director at MACAAL & Head of Cultural Projects at Fondation Alliances; and Janine Gaëlle Dieudji, Exhibitions Director at MACAAL.

“The works that form Material Insanity go far beyond the renaissance of waste plastics or agro-food industry scraps as artistic objects; they become powerful visual metaphors which tackle topics such as social domination in M’barek Bouhchichi conceptual research, migratory movements of Mahama’s and reinterpreting ancestral craft in visual artwork like Amina Agueznay” states Meriem. Through installations made from everyday objects, including new site-specific pieces commissioned by MACAAL, the exhibition combines various aesthetics that result in a visual dialogue.

Works such as Clay Apenouvon’s stretched black plastic film or Cyrus Kabiru’s material reinvention of electronic waste in the form of sculptural eyewear provide a response to current art tendencies that focus on the transient or intangible by questioning the eternal effects of globalization and consumerism in the current state. Hassan Hajjaj, as another example, has created Le Salon, an engaging site-specific installation inspired by traditional living spaces in Morocco. Le Salon invites the visitors into a domestic setting, where people can interact with each other and with their environment.

Thanks to the immersive scenography created by architect and artist Zineb Andress Arraki, the exhibition is able to confront the spectator with the reality of social responsibility as an urgent necessity.

What’s going to be your next move to tackle this problem?
The exhibition Material Insanity is on view until September 22 at Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden, Al Maaden, Sidi Youssef Ben Ali, Marrakech.
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Cyrus Kabiru (Kenya), Macho Nne: Mount Kenyan Music, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and SMAC Gallery.
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Fatiha Zemmouri, La pesanteur et la grâce (2019). Copyright Nicolas Henry.
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Frances Goodman (South Africa), Roiling Red (detail), 2018. Courtesy SMAC Gallery.
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Mohssin Harraki (Morocco), Rahatu’L-Aql/Peace of mind, 2017. Courtesy of Imane Farès Gallery.
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Nicholas Hlobo (South Africa), Tyaphaka, 2012. Courtesy of Sindika Dokolo Collection.
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Amina Agueznay, Noise, 2018.© Guy Thimel and Fondation Forum d’Assilah.