Bouchra Khalili: Between Circles and Constellations
From 17 February to 28 May 2023
Bouchra Khalili has put together a repertoire of life stories that talk about belonging, anti-colonial struggles and the strategies for resistance of subjugated communities.
We are all witnesses of our own history, but whose history is consolidated as collective memory? Exploring modes of historiography and drawing on conversations and archival material, the artistic practice of Bouchra Khalili (Casablanca, 1975, lives and works in Berlin) is an exploration of anti-colonial struggles, post-colonial histories of liberation and solidarity. Interweaving historical accounts and real-life stories, her works reinforce the political agency of subjects rendered invisible by the nation-state model of citizen membership.
Language and speech are a central part of Khalili’s investigations and are employed as a powerful form of resistance to hegemonic powers. The exhibition’s title refers to Al-Halqa, literally ‘the circle’, ‘the assembly’, a centuries-old tradition of storytelling in public spaces in Morocco, in which the audience participation is an essential part and where stories unfold in multiple layers. With history in constant dialogue with our present, the exhibition is a meditation on civic action and the need for what the artist calls ‘radical citizenship’.
Between Circles and Constellations brings together projects from the last ten years of Khalili’s oeuvre, including film, video-installations, photography and documentary material. The exhibition will feature the European premiere of The Circle (2023), a video installation that examines and reactivates the legacy of the Arab Workers Movement and their theatre groups Al Assifa and Al Halaka in France in the 1970s.
To mark the end of Khalili’s exhibition at MACBA, a publication will be issued featuring a selection of works, plus a new piece, The Circle, installed in the Museum’s galleries. It will also include essays by Bouchra Khalili, KJ Abudu, Övül Ö. Durmusoglu, Olivia C.Harrison, Rocé and a conversation between the artist and Omar Berrada.