Abdelaziz El Idrissi: “The Museum of Contemporary Art in Kasbah Space Needs to Stop”

Kasbah Space Museum of Contemporary Art is a former prison in the city of Tangier. Since the opening of the “L’École du Nord” exhibition on December 23, this unprecedented architectural installation has been the most symbolic work of this artistic movement.

“The restoration of this place was particularly delicate, both because it required knowledge in the restoration of historical monuments, and because it was possible to choose to leave the exposed stone to commemorate the old techniques used in it. Tangier city of the 18th and 19th centuries,” explains Idrisi, curator of the exhibition and director of the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rabat (MMVI).
This visual choice is suitable for both the nature of the place and the type of exhibit the museum will have in the future, such as “L’École du Nord”. “The exhibition identifies the curriculum of a school we wanted to call the school of the north, in this case the schools in Tangier and Tetouan and their surroundings,” explained the curator of the exhibition.

Abdelaziz El Idrisi lives in one of the most iconic works of this Northern school and deciphers for us their influence, aspirations and single “writing”. Guided tours.


Untitled (1920-1930) – Mohammed Ben Ali Rabati (1861-1939)

“Ben Ali Rabati was a draftsman. He draws landscapes more or less stupidly or spontaneously. He wanted to find the answer to his question about space therapy by integrating geometric patterns on the ground level or working with shadows to be able to go beyond spontaneous work and sometimes towards real perception. Ben Ali Rabati, originally from Rabat, came to settle in Tangier in the late 19th century. Maintains a relationship with his hometown. This is why we see these spaces which he tried to reproduce like a lot of work Sultan’s departure And Ouday. It was marked by monuments like Ouday or Souk Laghajal Square. Ben Ali Rabati did not do much work on painting or canvas. He basically worked on paper. A

Ahwach (1950) – Abder Rahman Manevi (1898-1976)

Untitled (1954) – Abder Rahman Manevi

“For his part, Abder Rahman Manevi worked on wood and canvas. The theme of the crowd constantly comes up in his work, like the landscape, like the work of the Impressionists of that time. They are the artists (Ben Ali Rabati and Manevi) who saw what was around them and were characterized by this tradition of European artistic practice. In it we will see most of them work. A


Procession (1947) – Mohamed Sergini (1923-1991)

“Mohamed Sergini was an educator. He studied at the San Fernando School in Madrid and had the opportunity to study with many European artists. We see in his writings an important study on symbols and symbols, and the integration of a theme somewhat similar to Picasso in a given period of time. At the same time, he created a work characterized by research by artists of this period, mainly Cubists. A

Workshop (1958) – Cams Eddoha AtaAllah

“Here we have (the work of Kames Edoha Ata Allah). I think it works in a workshop. He reproduced the artist’s studio as it was commonly done among academic artists. A

Benaisa and Fakhar are good at drawing

Venus (1951) – Liajid Benaisa

“We’ve been working since the 1950’s, where artists like Abdellah Fakhar and Liajid Benaiser have shown their skills in drawing, drawing lines and playing with light and shadow. Artists who have worked on academic plaster since this time, like classical plaster. It is important to look at the work of these artists in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s and how they later evolved. We can then discover a subject research, basically in Abdellah Fakhr, with his gestures. They were educators who respected drawing standards and Greco-Roman beauty codes because they were applied to European sculpture and painting. It is important for us to show this work before we notice the evolution that these artists will experience after their careers. A

Mythological Scenes (1955) – Abdella Fakhr (1935-1990)

A Moroccan in Manhattan

Essays (1960) – Ahmed Ben Idris El Jacobi (1928-1985)

Ahmed Ben Idris El Yakubi had his first exhibition in Tangier in 1952. He traveled to Asia with Paul Bowles to be inspired, but also to attend artists’ workshops. He will then return to Tangier to host other exhibitions before heading to the United States. Ahmed Ben Idris El Jacobi was also a draftsman, as he sometimes worked with ink to create dream-like work. He has worked with ranges and color overlays. We sometimes think he is writing. At the same time, he overlays the image. If we analyze his work, we will see that behind it, there are images, figures, landscapes which are not visible at first glance, but if we look more closely, we will discover other elements. At the same time, El Jacobi’s work is a gesture. Because he would meet Francis Bacon and work with him. They will inspire each other. This will give rise to a work that will be considered the first by a Moroccan and African artist to integrate MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art, Manhattan). It is a key element in the history of Moroccan art. In 1964, it was the year of unification of work The seal of Solomon In the MoMA collection by El Jacobi. A

Subject research and defragmentation

Untitled (1957); Untitled (1961) – McKee Maghra (1933-2009)

“In addition to the general iconography of early 1940s artists, the School of Tattoo will transcend its simple, illustrated traditions, moving on to other artistic practices that simultaneously combine Cubism, Surrealism, and sometimes other methods of artistic expression, until the early 20th century. This, like Mecky Maghra’s work, would lead to a rather independent study that would move from this traditional sculpture to a more advanced, materialistic study. The period in which he expressed himself in a representative way (Untitled, 1957). He will then move on to more advanced work, which defrags work and space and presents it with the same palette but in a different way, a few years later (Untitled, 1961). It perfectly shows the evolution of the work of an artist like Magha.You must put him in context and say that he was an artist who was ahead of his time. He was able to carry out significant work and material research, which marked several generations of the Tetouan school. A

The Counselor (1981) – Abdellah Fakhr

“Here we see Abdellah Fakhr – whom I have already mentioned when talking about his paintings and plaster – in his material studies, his gestures and the presentation of his twisted and painful body. Because it also shows that Fakhar was in the condition he was in when he was ill in the late 1970s.


Untitled (1990) – Mohammad Cheba (1935-2013)
Black Grid (1958-61) – Mohammad Atallah
Berechid (1996) – Mohammad Melehi (1936-2020)

“There, we have another time, another mode of expression. We have evolved over time. The cultural foundation of the Tetuan School has given birth to a whole generation. She is going to take her training in Europe. And he is going to return to create a sophisticated experience in this country. This generation will try to create Unwritten blade It raises questions about what was before and what was later called the School of Casablanca. The question of modernity, how can we adapt to this modernity and how can we be Morocco ourselves. The question of the identity and location of this modernity raised with the Jama El Efna exhibition and the Casablanca exhibition. Both exhibitions were important for this northern school, but also for the history of Moroccan painting. Why North School? Because the three artists who are part of this group already belong to Tangier School (Mohammad Cheba, Mohammad Atallah) and Tetuan School (Mohammad Melehi). After completing their training in Italy or Spain, they began living permanently in Morocco in 1964. Upon their return, they worked with Farid Belkahia, Mohammad Hamidi, and Mustafa Hafeez. So they will mount this historic exhibition of Jama El Fানারnr, which gave birth to a Moroccan artistic practice that would break with pre-existing ones and stand apart by refusing to display in galleries during this time. They will also demand the possibility or right to go public and display in the open air. Because art also has a role in people’s daily life. It’s not just the decorative art that hangs on the wall or on top of the fireplace. These were the recommendations of this artistic movement which are identified here by the three names Cheba, Atallah and Melehi. A


Porte Lumière, variation 3 (2021) – Faouzi Laatiris (1958)

Gray and Black Circles Connected (2011) – Hassan Acheir (1964)
Untitled (2021) – Faisal Benkirane (1975)
A woman’s face and a man’s face (2012) – Mohammad Anjaui (1964)

“With the 2000s, the Tetouan school gave birth to a different kind of experimentation, both through workshops created by the conceptual work of Fawzi Latiris and Mustafa Bozamaui and Hassan Acheir. Ready, Reconsider any object which will be confused and uninstalled. This will make it easier for young artists to follow in the footsteps of this first generation ‘performer’ and ‘uninstaller’.

This experience in the North will also be enriched by the personal experiences of a number of artists who have continued their journey in Spain, such as Khalid El Beck on the one hand and Maunia Tuis on the other. At the same time, other artists will practice while continuing to teach in the plastic industry. We also have the example of Faisal Benkiran who will somehow follow in the footsteps of hyperrealist artists by combining contemporary elements with his work, but in a special way. A

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