THE ARTIST AND THE ARTISAN
Hotel Design / Further
Hotel Design / Further
Beyond the bustling souks and ancient Berber, Jewish, and Arabic sites of Morocco lies a pulsating creative community populated by artists and artisans alike.
In workshops bearing memories that are hundreds of years old, expert glass blowers, ceramicists, and metalsmiths carry on traditions passed down over generations. Yet, simultaneously, they challenge the Western separation of art and craft. Tapping into this idea, Further Marrakech: The Artist and the Artisan asked what it means to be an artist or an artisan in the modern world: Are they two distinct categories or two ways of naming the same thing? What happens when such practitioners come together across cultures in the act of creation?
To address these questions and more, Further collaborated with La Pause Residency, a program which brought five emerging artists from around the world to La Pause, an eco-lodge in the serene Agafay Desert outside the vibrant city of Marrakech. While in residence, French artist Deborah Fischer worked closely with Moroccan artist M’Barek Bouhchichi to conceptualize her project and turned to local aluminum and ceramic experts to transform objects she had found, like broken pieces of aquamarine glass, white tree bark, and dried driftwood, into sculptures. More than local artisans, they were her artistic collaborators. “It was a great exchange,” she says. “I felt thankful finding a great balance between my eye and theirs.”
During the four-week residency, Fischer was joined by Lena Marie Emrich, Loutfi Souidi, Jessie French, and Lichen Kelp, who lived among La Pause’s earthen constructions and Berber tents and, like Fischer, spent their days experimenting and collaborating with local artisans, artists, and scientists to create works that reflect and engage with the landscape, culture, and craft traditions of Morocco. Further followed their journeys through Marrakech’s souks, workshops, and studios; across the parched hills and eucalyptus-shaded oases of the desert; and into the beating heart of Morocco’s “Red City”—all while coming to better understand it as a crossroads between South, North, East and West, between antiquity and modernity, between the local and the international.
“Marrakech has a very interesting context which nests different realities,” Bouhchichi says. “There is a side which point towards authenticity, towards history, and there is a side which points towards modernity and something we can call 'civilization'. Marrakech is like a laboratory and there is something that excites artists.”