Conversations | Poetic Guerrilla, Theater, and French Postcolonial Avant-Gardes

Poetic Guerrilla, Theater, and French Postcolonial Avant-Gardes / Guérilla poétique, théâtre et avant-gardes postcoloniales françaises
Paris+ par Art Basel 2023, October 20

Words are the last stronghold of power. Co-founded by Abdellatif Laâbi, the avant-garde journal Souffles (1966-72) undertook a genuine linguistic guerrilla war against all forms of oppression. In its pages, language is inhabited, appropriated, sometimes even violated with a view to open up new cultural horizons. Mirroring this, artist Bouchra Khalili uncovers political struggles and liberation movements obscured by dominant history, through the rediscovery of politically-engaged theater, cinema, and archives. Her recent work focuses in particular on the French Arab Workers’ Movement (MTA), who used theater as political propaganda. From poetry to the stage – and dipping into Laâbi’s extraordinary body of work which spans over 50 years – this panel explores the many ways in which language can be a source of political emancipation.

‣ Bouchra Khalili, artist, Berlin
‣ Abdellatif Laâbi, writer, Créteil
‣ Moderator: Coline Milliard, Executive Editor, Art Basel, London

‣ Abdellatif Laâbi was born in Fez, Morocco in 1942. His work covers all genres (poetry, novels, plays, books for children and young people, and essays). In addition to his own writing, Laâbi has translated many contemporary Arab authors into French. He has been awarded numerous prizes: the Prix Goncourt de la Poésie (2009); the Grand Prix de la Francophonie from the Académie française (2011); the Mexican international poetry prize, Nuevo Siglo de Oro (2017); and the Mahmoud Darwish Prize for Creativity (Ramallah 2020).

‣ Bouchra Khalili is a Moroccan-French visual artist who lives between Berlin and Vienna and works itinerantly. Encompassing film, video, installation, photography, printmaking, and publishing, Khalili’s trans-disciplinary practice develops strategies of storytelling across genres, deeply informed by the legacy of post-independence avant-gardes and the vernacular traditions of her native Morocco.
Khalili has participated in major exhibitions worldwide and her work has been the subject of many international solo shows, including Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona, 2023; Luma Foundation, Arles, France, 2023; the Bildmuseet Umeå, Sweden, 2021; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, 2019; Jeu de Paume, Paris, 2018; and Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2016. She has participated in major international exhibitions, such as the Venice Biennale, Documenta, the Sharjah Biennial, the Biennale of Sydney, La Triennale (Paris), the Triennale of Milano.

‣ Coline Milliard is Art Basel’s Executive Editor, as well as a published author and occasional curator. Over the last 15 years, she has written extensively about art across all sections of the market, and interviewed dozens of artists including Phyllida Barlow, Tino Sehgal, and Steve McQueen. Coline has held senior editorial positions at publications including artnet News and Garage Magazine, written for periodicals such as Art Monthly and The New York Times, and contributed numerous essays to books and catalogues.

The Conversations program for Paris+ par Art Basel 2023 is curated by Pierre-Alexandre Mateos and Charles Teyssou.
#Conversations #Poetic #Guerrilla #Theater #French #Postcolonial #AvantGardes


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