Collection by Aaron Britt

Marrakech Biennale: Higher Atlas


The Marrakech Biennale is in its fourth go here in Morocco's cultural capitol, and though much of the citywide exhibition deals with photography, sculpture and the like, the main show Higher Atlas—installed in the never-completed Theatre Royale—is decidedly architectural. From a fully-erected Maine backwoods shack by Ethan Hayes-Chute to a massive satellite dish by German architect Jurgen Mayer H., these works of art must contend with the presence of a raw, unfinished building. Started decades ago as an opera house by the previous king, one gets the sense that the actual theater, done only in raw concrete, will never be finished. I had a splendid time wandering around the structure discovering installation after installation. With no information given about what each project is, who made it, or what it's made from, one had the sense of pure discovery walking around the building, like finding ancient frescoes in a ruin. The exhibit runs through June 3rd.

The exterior of the Theater Royale, which certainly looks finished from the outside.
Here's a glimpse of what the raw interior of the theater looks like.
As a kind of comment on the unused theater, these neon abstractions of seats were at once inviting and flagrantly...
Inside the main theater space was this massive bridge suspended by a red curtain and resting on a wall that divides the...
Just off the entryway was this courtyard stacked with traditional Moroccan glasses.
On my wander I came across artist Megumi Matsubara (the only way I learned her name was because she was standing in...
One of the more impressive outdoor exhibits was this upside-down helicopter.
On the other side of the theater from the helicopter is this pottery installation.
This is Jurgen Mayer H's satellite dish, which was made by Moroccan craftsmen in a similar way to that by which they...
Rather incongruous inside a tile-bedecked courtyard, but this shack meant to evoke rustic Maine held its own.
Here's the inside of the Ethan Hayes-Chute's New England shack, dirty dishes and all.
One pleasure of wandering around the space was how the curators used the rooftop as well.

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