The Showroom

Curating as Collaborative Practice: The Fictional Marrakech Biennale

1-54 FORUM
Thursday 20 February, 11:30am–1:30pm
ESAV, Ecole supérieure des arts visuels de Marrakech


A speculative exhibition history exploring the performative attempt behind the formulation of The Fictional Biennale, an artist-driven project which questions the role and agency of artists in the absence of particular platforms of display. This laboratory takes as starting point Youness Atbane, M`barek Bouhchichi and Simohammed Fettaka’s inquiry and the ghostly imaginary their project generated, to expand their ideas and unveiled some of the fictional propositions they included in the ‘catalogue’ it archived in 2018. They will be joined by Florence Devereux, member of Mint Works and applicant to The Fictional Biennial.


This year 1-54 FORUM’s series of panels, artist talks, screenings and performances, under the title On Focus: Communal Knowledge at Large, will interrogate the institutional possibilities of engaging with local communities on artistic projects, based on The Showroom’s Communal Knowledge programme.

For almost a decade, Communal Knowledge has developed experimental practices and conceived collaborative projects that have addressed social and political matters affecting The Showroom's immediate environment, while advocating for international trans-disciplinary forms of art and education. Generating playful and experimental reflections on social issues at stake in The Showroom’s local context, this pioneering programme has brought together different initiatives around art and social justice incorporating long-term research projects into existing community activities.

Conceived as a framework to hold debates on critical concerns arising from different contexts, On Focus: Communal Knowledge at Large will explore the power of art in formulating awareness of, and giving visibility to, issues that have both local and international resonance.   

1-54 Forum will become a platform to interrogate multiple practices of socially engaged art, leading to the production of a new roadmap of organisational and institutional collective methodologies between artists, activists, institutions and community organisers. 

Image: The Fictional Marrakech Biennale 2018. Courtesy of Youness Atbane


1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair is the first leading international art fair dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora. Founding by Touria El Glaoui, the fair holds annual editions in London since 2013, New York since 2015 and Marrakech since 2018. Drawing reference to the fifty-four countries that constitute the African continent, 1-54 is a sustainable and dynamic platform that is engaged in contemporary dialogue and exchange.

For the 2020 edition in Marrakech, 1-54 has selected 20 leading galleries from 10 countries (Belgium, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa and the United Kingdom), showcasing the work of more than 65 artists, both emerging and established, working in a wide variety of mediums and from a range of geographical locations comprising 20 countries.

1-54 Marrakech will be accompanied by 1-54 Forum, the fair’s extensive talks and events programme, which will include artist talks and panel discussions with international curators, artists and cultural producers, to be held at La Mamounia, ESAV and Le 18 in parallel to the fair. For the 2020 Marrakech edition, 1-54 Forum will be curated by The Showroom and take its methodology from the organisation’s programme of engagement with its local north-west London community, Communal Knowledge.

  1. Communal-knoweledge-_esav
    Event On Focus: Communal Knowledge At Large: Monday 24 February

  2. Still_roman_algerien2-katia-kameli-2
    Event On Focus: Communal Knowledge At Large - Sunday 23 February

  3. 72568552_10159075222073782_5167744718297104384_o
    Event Curating as a Collaborative Practice: Dream City

  4. Henda_a_city_called_mirage_2014-2017_courtesy_the_artist_dsc_1598
    Event On Focus: Communal Knowledge At Large - Saturday 22 February

  5. Joe-namy-disguised-as-a-dance-floor-_le18-michael_huard-3
    Event Disguised as a Dance Floor