Dasthe Art Space

An article by Severine Grosjean.

The art market in Morocco is doing much better than a few years ago. It is growing and it will grow in the years to come. It is true that it is a nascent market, but it is gaining momentum. Against all odds, the art market in Morocco is experiencing a particular boil, which could encourage authorities and professionals to take the necessary measures to develop the sector.

Dasthe Art Space is a space created by Yasmine Laraqui in 2017. Her first role is to support, encourage, promote and expose the emerging artists of the contemporary Moroccan art scene. Hybrid project, the space is an exhibition space but also an agency accompanying and advising young artists, often lost in front of the few opportunities offered at the local level. Dasthe Art Space has a golden rule. Its director wants to represent the Moroccan / African artists in all the exhibitions that are realized. She wants to engage more Moroccan emerging artists in the contemporary art scene. “First because they understand the tools and the language of the globalized market and then because the artists born in the 80s and 90s have an intrinsic” globalist “culture with which they no longer limit the resonance of their aesthetic discourse to the national level alone.

This innovative space explores concepts and themes that are often difficult to address in Moroccan society. Dasthe Art Space creates a certain dynamism in order to present to the public speeches engaging wider debates than the exhibition or the evolving art market in Morocco, even if this remains one of the main observations.

Dasthe Art Space is a cultural proposal that tries to show this wealth and artistic diversity Moroccan despite the difficulties of the Moroccan market. Morocco is experiencing a real turning point. The new wave of Moroccan painters is not left out and is also attracting the enthusiasm of specialists. The goal of Dasthe Art Space is also to make art accessible to all despite the suffering of diffusion slots (sales margins, little communication, lack of transparency, promotion of art to the general public, promotion of artists, lack of training of collectors and galleries (issuance of authentication certificates))

The vernissages follow each other and are not alike, Moroccan artists are more and more creative, offer lots of things and make them talk about them internationally, Morocco has a great story that deserves to be given the means to go around the world.

1 May 2019 / by / in
Le Cube – independent art room

As an independent art space in Morocco Le Cube defends since 2005 contemporary art positions of Moroccan and international artists trying to show art without commercial compromise or normative rules. With this philosophy against the current Le Cube – indepdendent art room is considered to be at the forefront of the contemporary art scene in Morocco. We aim to create a platform whose purpose is to establish a dialogue between actors and audiences, to help artists to disseminate and advance their work and encourage new forms of contemporary art, performances, installations, videos, interventions in-situ.

For « the Alternative Art Guide » we have chosen three Moroccan artists who make us participate at their vision of the world, the world as it is or as it might be seen, Jamila Lamrani, Leila Sadel and Mohammed Laouli.

Jamila Lamrani

Jamila Lamrani is part of this group of artists that provides an exciting change in the visual arts in Morocco. Her work is in line with a commitment, she defines the world in its complexity with silent words of an artist, but revealing the tensions and challenges of the society in which she lives, using this language of her own sensitivity.

Using the characteristics materials of the femals universe, fine fabrics, tulle and black threads, in this simplicity of the non-color, Jamila Lamrani continues the “painting without painting” that is very progressive, liberated from its traditional codes.  Consistent in her artistic approach, she tells the story of awomens’ world between confinement and ephemeral presence.
She revisits and brings a new look at the status of women in her social context, subtle, with sublime delicacy and much poetry.

Jamila Lamrani, « Chambre de confession », installation with black silk threads, table, chair and book, 2012

Leila Sadel

Her work consists of multiple interventions from the arrangement, the confrontation, to the shaping of the collected material. She makes short shiftings, shifts of meaning, which interact with the collective imagery and propose singular moments in the form of photographs, installations and videos. The reference to a collective unconscious, mostly tied to image and text, allows the viewer to set markers in the narrative space that is emerging and is open to him.

This personal approach joins Sadels’ idea of the artist’s positioning in society. Through his practice, the artist has the purpose to question the reality and its likelihoods. He creates a wavering of certainty by challenging our perceptions and beliefs. He highlights elements, emphasizes and gives them a resonance in his work to put our concerns at stake.

Leila Sadel, « Ouvrage », cut journal paper, variable number of cut words, 2010

Mohammed Laouli

The work of Mohamed Laouli lays the premises of an endogenous and vertical reading of what surrounds him. He explores the phenomenons that cross, maim or mark his society. Although there is a certain part of commitment in his his reflections, Mohamed Laouli’s comment is not accusing. He doesn’t see himself as a decision maker, a politician or somebody who teaches someone a lesson. He simply displays his vision, his resentment about instants that he observes in his environment,  a building or a waste land.

Mohammed Laouli, « Everything is sacred », video, 2013

Elisabeth Piskernik (Founder and director)

Lives and works in Rabat / Morocco

A graduate in History of Art at the University of Vienna in 1994,

training in gallery management (Galerie Lang Vienne), training in cultural management (Institut für Kulturkonzepte Vienna), assistant for artistic programmation (Galerie Freud Klagenfurt), founder, director and curator of the art space Le Cube – independent art room in Rabat / Morocco since 2005.

30 June 2017 / by / in
L’appartement22 – an independant space for art in Rabat, Morocco

L’appartement 22 is an independent art space in Rabat founded in 2002 by Abdellah Karroum following a series of projects, gatherings, and journeys. The majority of L’appartement22’s projects are conceived specifically for the space, primarily in the context of artists’ residencies. Located in the heart of Rabat, on Avenue Mohamed V across from Parliament, this space for debate interrogates recent art historical discourses and the social, political, and cultural contexts of their emergence. L’appartement22 has played a fundamental role in the development of independent spaces in Morocco for the past decade, as freedom of expression has become a rallying cry in a country where politics, religion, and economy are exclusive items of traditional and postcolonial power.

L’appartement22 expanded its formats in 2007 with the first art radio in Morocco, R22, and a workshop in Fez, Lot 219. The R22 radio programs have been recorded live in exhibition spaces in Brussels, Gwangju, Marrakech, Medellin, Palermo, Cotonou, and the Rif Mountains. In 2011, the exhibition space in Rabat invited international members of the Curatorial Delegation to curate its programs, using the physical space for gatherings in dialogue with art projects are produced around the world. In 2013, The Rif Residency was created to offer a space for artists, writers, and curators to develop projects in collaboration with the Rif community.

The original exhibition space is now a space for documentation and archives. It provides artist dossiers and information on professional opportunities for researchers, artists, and students. Documentation and contacts are available on site, amongst them: Adel Abdessemed, Ninar Esber, Fadma Kaddouri, Georgia Kotretsos, Younès Rahmoun, Otobong Nkanga, Shezad Dawood, and many more.

The three artists proposed are artists that did a residency or project at L’appartement 22.


Georgia Kotretsos 

Georgia Kotretsos is the artist-in-residence at L’appartement22, Rabat, from 15 December 2013 to 15 January 2014. It is Kotretsos’ first time in Morocco but she has followed the program of the space and the path of its founder, Abdellah Karroum, since 2007. At the end of her residency, L’appartement 22 will host an exhibition of work produced during her stay in Morocco (15 January – 28 February 2014). In Rabat, Kotretsos will conduct research on the city’s independent art spaces and museums, while looking for emblematic images and artworks, in relation to their surroundings, and their audience. For the artist, this approach stimulates her art practice and leads to new works and inquiries.

She proposed the photography-based project, KARFI (Greek : Kαρφί) produced in Rabat. In Greek, KARFI literally means nail, but the word is also layered with metaphorical and playful connotations that draw attention to elements of our surroundings that otherwise would have escaped us. When personified, it refers to someone who tells on others or who slips and accidentally reveals him/herself. 


Georgia Kotretsos, KARFI, installation, dimensions variable, 2014, courtesy of the artist and L’appartement22


Georgia Kotretsos, KARFI, installation, dimensions variable, 2014, courtesy of the artist and L’appartement22


Georgia Kotretsos, KARFI, installation, dimensions variable, 2014, courtesy of the artist and L’appartement22


Kotretsos recently founded the collective Women With Talents (WWT) along with Athens-based visual artist, Natasha Papadopoulou. During Kotretsos’ residency at L’appartement 22, Touda Bouanani Rabat-based  artist will contribute to the realization of WWT’s project in Rabat. During the final week of the residency, Kotretsos and Papadopoulou will join Bouanani for the collective’s first initiative, a day-long performance entitled Spring Cleaning. For the artists, the performance is an editorial gesture that wishes to erase, to wipe off, to cleanse instead of adding to the public sphere. It is an effort to re-introduce space and surface, a hope to excavate the recent past by only removing its outermost layer : the veil of dirt, the traces civilians leave behind. Dirt is a poignant reminder of the passing of time and the Spring Cleaning performance will attempt to unveil the dermis of the most politically charged site in the heart of Rabat, right on Mohamed V Avenue the 11th January 2014.


Spring Cleaning by WWT (Women With Talents), January 2014, supported by L’appartement22, Rabat, Morocco


Spring Cleaning by WWT (Women With Talents), January 2014, supported by L’appartement22, Rabat, Morocco


Spring Cleaning by WWT (Women With Talents), January 2014, supported by L’appartement22, Rabat, Morocco


Julia Rometti & Victor Costales

In the new works commissioned by L´appartement 22, Julia Rometti & Víctor Costales pursue their ongoing research on Anarquismo Mágico, a little known transnational political movement, and one of its leading figures, Azul Jacinto Marino. Rometti & Costales interrogate the historical movement’s relevance within North Africa’s current botanical, mineral, and political context. These enquiries were sparked by subaquatic communications intercepted by the artists in the coast of Ecuador. The transcription of these messages into the Berber Tifinagh alphabet prompted a series of multi-divinatory events which took place in the Rif mountains in northern Morrocco in September, as part of the Expédition du bout du monde #11, hosted by the Rif residencies program of L´appartement 22. In the meantime, curator Natalia Valencia went after the traces of the first seeds of spiritual inclination experienced by German artist and art historian Mathias Goeritz, during his stay in Tangier and Tetouan in the early 1940s. In the unearthed correspondence between Goeritz’s wife Marianne Gast (a.k.a Bambi) and Azul Jacinto Marino, the researchers found evidence of the influence exerted by Moroccan folk aesthetics in what would later become Goeritz’s theory of “Emotional Architecture.” This was crystallized in the construction of Museo Experimental El Eco in Mexico City in 1953. Following Goeritz and Marino’s early reflections on spiritual anarchism, Rometti & Costales’ perspectivist endeavours reach out for the sensibility contained in Moroccan amber, sand, azurite, and other entities. In times of political unrest, Azul equivocation delves on the transformative qualities of botanical, mineral, and architectural insurrection.


Julia Rometti & Victor Costales, AZUL EQUIVOCATION I, installation, palms with city lights, variable dimensions, 2013, courtesy of the artists and L’appartement22


Julia Rometti & Victor Costales, AZUL EQUIVOCATION III, 1 inkjet print color, 28 X 40 cm, 2013, courtesy of the artists and L’appartement22


Julia Rometti & Victor Costales, AZUL EQUIVOCATION II, detail, 5 collages, 30 X 40 cm, 2013, courtesy of the artists and L’appartement22


Julia Rometti & Victor Costales, expedition Le bout du Monde #11, September 2013, photo credit: L’appartement22


Julia Rometti & Victor Costales, expedition Le bout du Monde #11, September 2013, photo credit: L’appartement22


Fadma Kaddouri

Fadma Kaddouri was born in the Rif Mountains, Morocco, and she lives and works in Grenoble, France. She participated in numerous international exhibition such as Jf_Jh Libertés (2012, L’appartement 22, Rabat), Le dépays, Marrakech Biennale (2012, Marrakech), Transmediale Berlin Festival (2011, Berlin), and Sentences on the bank and other activities, Darat Al Funun (2010-2011, Amman). In September 2013, L’appartement22 exhibited the first monographic exhibition of her work.

In L’appartement 22’s exhibition space on Avenue Mohamed V, Kaddouri exhibited her proposal, Le Signe Route. For many years, Kaddouri has been conducting complex research on the legacy of Mohamed Choukri, a Riffian writer, by using methods which might be linked to autobiographical investigation and the fiction of micro-history. The literary legacy of Choukri, whose work questions the role of the writer in society, is a writing that never shies away from life’s vacuity and torments. Choukri’s writing takes a poetical and epic dimension, drawing together social, political, and historical perspectives. The artist weaves together what results from experiences described by Choukri in this proposal dedicated to, and interested in, the fate of an individual or a group in order to focus on the world around her.


Fadma Kaddouri, Le Signe Route, exhibition view, 2013, courtesy of the artist and L’appartement22


Fadma Kaddouri, Le Signe Route, exhibition view, 2013, courtesy of the artist and L’appartement22


Fadma Kaddouri, Le Signe Route, exhibition view, 2013, courtesy of the artist and L’appartement22


Le Signe Route project ensued from Kaddouri’s trips to the Rif as part of Rif Residency, created by Abdellah Karroum and coordinated and supported by L’appartement22. It began in 2011 with sites for research and intervention by artists and members of the Curatorial Delegation, who propose and lead projects in different contexts. The frequency of the residencies is determined according to artist projects and to different meteorological and geopolitical conditions. The first series, organized in 2011, resulted in productions and encounters presented at the Venice Biennale and at L’appartement 22 as part of Working for Change, including new works by Gabriella Ciancimino and Younès Rahmoun. In 2012, artists Badr El Hammami, Mustapha Akrim, and Fadma Kaddouri participated in a residency structured at the crossroads of a seminar for artistic research and an exploratory expedition that focused on sites of history (Expedition #10 as part of the project, Le Bout Du Monde). In 2013, Fadma Kaddouri returned to the Rif to continue her project following the route of Mohamed Choukri, an author emblematic of twentieth century Morocco. The artist collaborated with the cooperative Noua’Rif on a first project and then worked with the group to create a rose for the author. L’appartement 22 also organizes residencies-encounters in the Rif in order to facilitate education and knowledge exchange, notably in the disciplines of photography, painting, and literature.


Fadma Kaddouri, Le Signe Route, Rif Residency, 2013, photo credit: Fadma Kaddouri


Fadma Kaddouri, Le Signe Route, Rif Residency, 2013, photo credit: Fadma Kaddouri


Fadma Kaddouri, Le Signe Route, Rif Residency, 2013, photo credit: Fadma Kaddouri

Abdellah Karroum

Abdellah Karroum is a research and curator based between Cotonou, Rabat, Paris, and, since 2013, the director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar. He founded L’appartement 22 in Rabat in 2002 and its radio project, RADIOappartement 22 (R22), in 2007. He is the author of the book, L’appartement 22 (2002-2008), published by Editions Hors’champs. Although considered as the most dynamic specialist in the Arab World, he does not claim to belong to a specific region or a single country. Instead, he articulates a concept of “relative homelands,” advocating permanent back-and-forth movements between diverse spaces and a nomadic approach to the circulation of artworks and their relationship to the contexts in which they appear, such as exhibitions and publications. This approach is also applied in spaces created by certain artists and thinkers that take displacement and encounter as a methodology, inscribing art within the fundamental activities of society.

After creating Edititions Hors’champs in Bordeaux in 1999, Karroum began his artistic expeditions, Le Bout Du Monde (The Edge of the World), initiated in the Rif since 2000. These expeditions are a way to question the ways in which international exhibitions are founded on a global model and claim the relativity of encounters between artworks and a predefined public.

The cultural radio station, R22, experiments with the diversity of the space of exchange by using the language of art and extending the physical space into the airwaves in order to amplify the actions L’appartement 22 has undertaken since 2002 in Rabat. In 2008, R22 participated in the 7th Gwangju Biennale (South Korea), creating the station, R22: Gwangju. Karroum was also invited to curate an exhibition within the Biennale as part of the Position Papers. His exhibition, Expedition 7 (Relative Homelands), presented the work of Adel Abdessemed, Francis Alys, Seamus Farrell, Vincent+Feria, and Sislej Xhafa.

Karroum has also served as associate curator for the Dakar Biennale (2006) and the artistic director of the 2009 Marrakech Biennale, where he curated A proposal for articulating works and places. He was associate curator for 2012 La Triennale at the Palais de Tokyo (Paris). In 2012, he was artistic director of the Benin Biennale, Inventing the World: The Artist as Citizen. He directed the seminar, “Art, Technology and Ecology” (ESAV-Marrakech), and regularly publishes on contemporary art. From 2012-2013, he was the artistic director of the International Prize for Contemporary Art at the Prince Pierre de Monaco Foundation.

30 June 2017 / by / in