Feb 15 2024 – Opening at IFA Gallery, Berlin

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Capture d’écran 2024-01-17 à 17.20.49










Exhibition School of Casablanca
February 15 – May 12, 2024

With contributions by Gilles Aubry, Nassim Azarzar, Amina Belghiti & Soukaina Aziz El Idrissi,
Bik Van der Pol, Céline Condorelli, Fatima-Zahra Lakrissa, Manuel Raeder, Marion von
Osten, Peter Spillmann, and Abdeslam Ziou Ziou.


ifa-Galerie Berlin
Linienstraße 139/140
D-10115 Berlin

School of Casablanca is initiated by KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin) and
ThinkArt (Casablanca) in partnership with Sharjah Art Foundation, Institut für
Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa), Goethe-Institut Marokko, and Zamân Books & Curating.
The project draws from the legacy of the Casablanca Art School and its innovative
pedagogical methods, modernist aesthetics, and exhibition strategies in 1960s Morocco.
Launched in 2020 with a residency program, it continues with an exhibition, which takes
place at various locations in Casablanca between 11 November 2023 – 14 January 2024.
School of Casablanca highlights a pivotal moment in Moroccan art history that had
wide-ranging implications for the entire region: the beginning of modern art in the now
independent country (1956). A new civic awareness emerged which impacted both artists
and intellectuals seeking to reconsider their social function and visibility in the public sphere.
Through this process, the artist became the producer of a social and cultural project in which
art was seen as a space of shared knowledge and experience. The Casablanca Art School
was a seminal forum for the development of these ideas and related practices. Its members
were united by a keen awareness that a new national culture could only emerge in the
postcolonial period if modernity’s demands were rooted in Indigenous cultural practices.
Drawing on the Bauhaus Manifesto, among others, the school engaged in creating models
for rethinking the relationship between art, craft, design, and architecture within a local
This collaborative initiative seeks to further the legacy of the Casablanca Art School in
contemporary thought, which is relevant not only within a Moroccan context but also in
relation to critical reflection on the traditions of Western methodology and self-perception.
School of Casablanca revisits and reinterprets the radical ideas and actions of the group of
individuals (Farid Belkahia, Mohammed Chabâa, Bert Flint, Toni Maraini, and Mohamed
Melehi) who shaped the original school at its peak (1964–69). In doing so, it draws from the
spirit of experimentation, discourse, self-organization, and community building embodied by
Souffles, a now-iconic Moroccan cultural magazine of the time. Founded as an avant-garde
cultural review in 1966, its creators (Abdellatif Lâabi, Mostafa Nissaboury and Mohammed
Khaïr-Eddine) collaborated extensively with the Casablanca Art School. Banned by the
authorities in 1972, the magazine was an important focal point for Moroccan and international
artists, poets, painters, filmmakers, playwrights, intellectuals, and other cultural figures.
Over the past years, the invited participants to School of Casablanca, ranging from artists,
designers, and curators to independent researchers, conducted research and fieldwork within
the city of Casablanca. They shared their process in a public program, which was hosted as
part of the residency program. This exhibition brings the newly commissioned work into a
dialogue with archival material, operating in the present while reflecting on the past. It takes
place across five locations throughout the city of Casablanca, some of which were originally
used by the Casablanca Art School, such as l’École Supérieure des beaux-arts de
Casablanca and La Coupole du parc de la Ligue arabe. Divided into sections titled
“Making Art Public,” “Modernist Aesthetics & Popular Art,” and “Artistic Practice & Everyday
Life” and contextualizing the politically troublesome and culturally productive history in which
modern Moroccan art was formed, the exhibition seeks to pose questions about the legacy of
the Casablanca Art School, including the development of innovative pedagogical and artistic
methodologies and the potentialities within the current socio-political climate of Casablanca
and Morocco.

School of Casablanca is curated by Salma Lahlou, Independent Curator and Founder,
ThinkArt, Casablanca; Krist Gruijthuijsen, Director, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin;
and Inka Gressel, Co-Director, ifa, Berlin