●Edition 2: Learning From
Mar. 23–24 2018
Panel discussion and Workshop

bauhaus imaginista. Learning From, Rabat

  • Le Cube – independent art room
  • Goethe-Institut Rabat

Poster of bauhaus imaginista: Learning From, Rabat.
Graphic design by Nassim Azarzar.

In 1910 the exhibition ‘Masterpieces of Mohammedan Art’ in Munich presented carpets displayed on walls like paintings, a presentation that made many Europeans visit the Maghreb to study its local crafts traditions. In 1927 – 13 years after his voyage to Tunis – Bauhaus teacher Paul Klee created a drawing based on monochrome Kilims made by Tunisian Berbers. While studying its structure and patterns Klee developed a relation between craft object, decorative arts and a specific language of abstraction.

Graphic realised by students of the École des Beaux-Arts, in: Maghreb Art, N°3, published by the École des Beaux-Arts de Casablanca, 1969.

As one of four focal objects of bauhaus imaginista Klee’s drawing Teppich (carpet), one of many attempts by Bauhaus artists to learn from pre-modern design practices triggers a debate around transcultural readings of vernacular objects. Klee’s drawing invites the question from a contemporary perspective, how and through which framings craft objects are transformed into an art work or a design innovation. What is gained and what is concealed in such readings?

According to French-Algerian artist Kader Attia, non-Western museum objects like Berber rugs have been detached from their original meaning by removing them from their initial context. Through a process of abstraction, they have been cleansed from the physical and social body to which they must be connected if they are to function and be complete. To fully understand an object’s identity, Attia argues, we have to reconnect it to the body.

In the context of bauhaus imaginista Kader Attia will produce a new film, based on studies on Berber jewelry that in addition to traditional metals and gems also used coins imported by colonial powers. Through the appropriation of European money, its currency became detached from its original value. The photographs of Berber jewelry from Attia’s new film project unfold a complicit relation between tradition and modernity and point out how intercultural encounters always unleash a never-ending process of exchange and re-appropriation

It is this open-ended process of transcultural readings that was also foundational for the post-independence art movement in Morocco of the 1960s. Artists and designers in Casablanca revisited the Bauhaus curriculum by turning to a study of local crafts. To them, Berber crafts offered an alternative to the existing Beaux-Arts art education, implemented under the French colonial rule. Asserting the need to decolonialize culture and the art school curriculum, artists and intellectuals such as Farid Belkahia, Mohamed Chabâa, Bernt Flint, Toni Maraini and Mohamed Melehi re-visited popular art forms to create a new post-colonial language that aimed to synthesize the arts. This productive friction between different knowledge structures beyond the usual hierarchy of the manual vs the cognitive, the popular vs elite culture is still a challenge for today’s art institutions.

How can the reading of cultures be decolonialized? With the start of bauhaus imaginista’s year program in Morocco in Rabat 23rd/24th of March 2018, this question is reflected through the study of vernacular objects as well as through parallel projects in the 20th century that wanted to go beyond the western paradigms of knowledge production and transfer.

Graphic realised by students of the École des Beaux-Arts, in: Maghreb Art, N°3, published by the École des Beaux-Arts de Casablanca, 1969.

●Event documentation
A Program of Encounters and Research at the Goethe-Institut & Le Cube – independent art room

The event that took place in Rabat on the 23 and 24 March 2018 inaugurated the bauhaus imaginista series of exhibitions and discursive programmes. Departing from a 1927 drawing of an oriental carpet by Paul Klee, the events focussed on the transcultural readings of modernist art practice and the re-mapping of avant-gardes’ territories. → more

●Artist Work
Research Project

Looking into the history of objects, into their original practical and social function as well as into the circumstances of their transition to European and other countries of Western civilization, the artist Kader Attia aims at conveying the full identity of the objects and to follow the traces of their disappearance that still can be discovered today and call for repair. → more

●Exhibition Slideshow
Archives du Cabinet Faraoui et de Mazières

Entre 1968 et 1978, le cabinet d’architectes Faraoui et De Mazières commande à des artistes des œuvres conçues spécifiquement pour leurs projets architecturaux autour du concept des «Intégrations». Usines, hôpitaux, universités, centres de vacances, banques et hôtels vont ainsi bénéficier de ce syncrétisme entre l’art et l’architecture.  → more

●Correspondent Report
On Distance, Objects and the Body — Thoughts after the Workshop with Kader Attia and Marion von Osten

On 24 and 25 March 2018, we met in Rabat to participate in the first event of the bauhaus imaginista project. We were attending a workshop with the French-Algerian artist Kader Attia, surrounded by an exhibition of archival materials from artists and students from the École des Beaux Arts in Casablanca and including the Maghreb Art magazine on the walls of Le Cube — independent art space that hosted Attia’s show in Rabat. → more

●Slide Show
Photo Documentation of the Events in Rabat
Video Documentation of the Events in Rabat, Morocco on 23 and 24 March 2018
Locations of the Workshop and Symposium in Rabat

Le Cube – independent art room hosted the workshop of bauhaus imaginista: Learning From.

The symposium of bauhaus imaginista: Learning From took place at Goethe-Institut Morocco. → more

●Related Articles
Les Intégrations: Faraoui and Mazières. 1966–1982 — From the Time of Art to the Time of Life

Les Intégrations exemplified a specific conceptual motif, one that acted not within a single field but rather implied a relationship of interdependence between different media (visual arts and architecture) and techniques (those of graphic arts and architecture). They thus allowed for the emergence of disciplines that were not static in formation but evolving in relation to one another. The intermedial relationship they created between art and architecture raises the question of what lies “between” these disciplines: how do they communicate with each other? What are the elements of language common to this “spirit of the times,” to the particular atmosphere of the late 1960s? → more

École des Beaux-Arts de Casablanca (1964–1970) — Fonctions de l’Image et Facteurs Temporels

Utopie culturelle vécue, posture éthique et préfiguration de la modernité artistique et culturelle marocaine, l’École des Beaux-arts de Casablanca est, de 1964 à 1970, le lieu de cristallisations d’aspirations sociales et artistiques portées par un groupe d’artistes et enseignants responsables d’une restructuration des bases pédagogiques. → more

Chabâa’s Concept of the “3 As”

“Architecture is one expression of the fine arts” (Mohamed Chabâa, in: Alam Attarbia, No. 1, p. 36, 2001.)

Mohamed Chabâa’s consciousness of his national heritage and his interest in architecture both emerged at a young age. His concept of the “3 A’s”—art, architecture and the arts and crafts—grew out of his discovery both of the Italian Renaissance and the Bauhaus School during a period of study in Rome in the early 1960s. From then on, bringing together the “3 A’s” would become a central interest, a concept Chabâa would apply in various ways and fiercely defend throughout his long and varied career. → more

Don’t Breathe Normal: Read Souffles! — On Decolonizing Culture

The need for a synthesis of the arts and, with this, a change of pedagogical principles, was not only present at the beginning of the twentieth century (forces that prompted the Bauhaus’s foundation), but after WWII as well, during the “Short Century” of decolonization. This second modern movement and its relation to modernism and the vernacular, the hand made, and the everyday was vividly expressed through texts and art works published in the Moroccan quarterly magazine Souffles, published beginning in the mid-1960s by a group of writers and artists in Rabat, Casablanca and Paris. → more


I was sixteen years old when I undertook my first journey into finding a professional vocation, first in Asilah, then in Fez followed by Tétouan. 1952. Tangiers was, to me, an open book, a window on the world. The freedom of seeing, of discovering and of feeling, of weaving the narratives of my dreams. → more

The Bauhaus and Morocco

In the years when Western nations were committed in new projects of partnership, with what was then called the “Third World”, young artists and students from the Maghreb had grown up in the passionate climate of the struggle for independence, were talented, open to modernity, and eager to connect with twentieth-century international art movements, which were different in production and spirit from colonial ideology and culture. → more