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Biennale Bénin 2012 - Curators' Biographies

Inventing the World: The Artist as Citizen

Abdellah Karroum, Artistic Director

Didier Houénoudé, Associate Curator for "les Projets Spéciaux" (Special Projects)

Anne Szefer Karlsen, Olivier Marboeuf and Claire Tancons, Associate Curators for the Encounters and Research program.

In dialogue with a group of curators and international professionals (Curatorial Delegation)

Abdellah Karroum (born 1970, Morocco) works as an independent art researcher, publisher and curator. He is the founder and artistic director of several art projects: ‘L’appartement 22’ (site), an experimental space for encounters, exhibitions and artists’ residencies founded in 2002 in Rabat, Morocco; the ‘Le Bout Du Monde’ art expeditions to different locations undertaken since 2000 together with artists; and the ‘éditions hors’champs’ art publications that have been published since 1999 and Radioapartment22, an experimental online radio (site). He was Assistant Curator at the capcMusée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux (1993-1996) where he curated numerous exhibitions: Pensées bleues (1993) ; Jean-Paul Thibeau (1995) ; Urgences (1996). Karroum was Associate Curators for the 2006 DAK’ART Biennial for African Contemporary Art, co-curator for the "Position Papers" program in the Gwangju Bienniale 2008 and the Curator of the 3rd AiM International Biennale’s exhibition 2009 in Marrakech. He initiated the laboratory "Art, Technology and Ecology" at ESAV-Marrakech (Film School), which have been running monthly since March 2010. In 2010 he curated the exhibition project "Sentences on the Banks and other activities" for Darat Al-Funun in Amman. In 2007, Karroum served as a Member of the Golden Lion Jury in the Biennale of Venice. Karroum is also Member of the Prince Pierre Monaco Foundation’s Artistic Council for its International Prize of Contemporary Art. His research is funded in part by the Prince Claus Fund (Amsterdam) and the Clark Art Institute (Williamstown, MA). He is the curator of "Working for Change" proposal for a Moroccan Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale 2011. Karroum is Associate Curator for La Triennale of Paris 2012 and Artistic Director of the Biennale Benin 2012.

Didier Houénoudé is an art historian and researcher and research at the University of Abomey-Calavi. His research interests focus on issues of identity in contemporary African art as well as questions concerning patrimony, urbanism, and the development of African cities. He also directs the Direction de la Culture et du Patrimoine de la Mairie de Porto-Novo (Direction for Culture and Patrimony in Porto-Novo). He served as curator for two editions of Porto-Nov’art (2008 and 2010), organized by the Centre Culturel Ouadada de Porto-Novo (Ouadada Cultural Center of Porto-Novo). Houénoudé graduated with BA in history (2007) and a masters in archaeology (2000) from the University of Benin. He worked at the Ecole du Patrimoine Africain (School for African Patrimony) on the project "Etude de Réhabilitation du Patrimoine Historique de la Ville de Porto-Novo (Study for the Rehabilitation of Historic Patrimony in the City of Porto-Novo)" (2001-2003). He was then admitted to the Doctoral College, "Identität und Differenz. Geschlechterkonstruktion und Interkulturalität (18. - 21. Jahrhundert)" at the University of Trier in Germany where he wrote his dissertation under the direction of Dr. Viktoria Schmidt-Linsenhoff (2003-2007). He currently works independently on numerous cultural and artistic projects in Benin.

Anne Szefer Karlsen is a curator and writer, currently Director of Hordaland Art Centre in Bergen, Norway (2008-14). In addition to series of exhibitions and seminars for the Hordaland Art Centre, as well as further developing its residency programme, she has curated exhibitions for other art spaces, such as Bergen Art Museum, L’appartement 22 and Oslo Fine Art Society. She has edited Collected art criticisms by Erlend Hammer (Ctrl+Z Publishing, 2008), co-edited Lokalisert/Localised with Arne Skaug Olsen and Morten Kvamme (Ctrl+Z Publishing, 2009) and Self-Organised with Stine Hebert (Open Editions/Hordaland Art Centre 2012). She has conceived of several seminars and lecture series, such as Blank Identification, on the question of what we can expect from a photograph today discussed through abstraction and economy; Visions: Upheavals and Unpractical Ideas, discussing to what degree artists relate to the future (together with Toril Johannessen); A Piece of Anti-History, discussing how artists’ actions influence an art institution and What is left?, on the photographic “residue”. Her interests are in artistic and curatorial collaborations as well as developing the language that surrounds art productions of today, linguistically, spatially and structurally. Szefer Karlsen is curator for Lofoten International Art Festival - LIAF 2013 (with Bassam el Baroni and Eva González-Sancho).

Olivier (Moana, Paul) Marboeuf is the director of the Espace Khiasma (Paris). Most recently, he curated the exhibition Les Nouveaux Mondes et les Anciens (The New and Old Worlds), a four-part project at the Espace Khiasma from March 16 to June 16, 2012 that presented a selection of twenty artist films, including works by Sandy Amerio, Marie Bouts & Till Roeskens, Patrick Bernier & Olive Martin, Vincent Chevillon, François Daireaux, Niklas Goldbach, Amanda Guitierrez, Jean-Charles Hue, Frédéric Moser and Philippe Schwinger, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Neil Beloufa, Catherine Poncin, Alex Pou, and Penny Siopis.

Claire Tancons (1977) is a curator, writer and researcher whose work focuses on carnival, public ceremonial culture and protest movements. She was the associate curator for Prospect.1 and Contemporary Arts Center, both in New Orleans (2007-9) and a curatorial consultant for Harlem Biennale (2010-12). As curator for the 7th Gwangju Biennale (2008) and guest curator for CAPE09, the second Cape Town biennial (2009) she organized processions mixing the traditions of political demonstrations and carnival processions, opening the way to what has since been hailed as a new model of curatorship, an example of cross-cultural curating. Tancons is regularly invited to speak, write and teach about her work and research. Her essays have been featured in academic and art journals (such as NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art; Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism; Third Text; e-flux journal) and exhibition catalogues and translated into Korean, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, and French. Reviews about her work have appeared in North American (New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, Art Papers), European (Flash Art, Frieze, Mousse, Springerin, Arte e Critica) and Asian (Noon) art journals and magazines.
Tancons holds an MA in Museum Studies from the École du Louvre in Paris (1999), an MA in Art History from the Courtauld Institute in London (2000) and is a former curatorial fellow of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program (2001) and the Walker Art Center (2003). She has been the recipient of various research, travel and production grants including from the Foundation for Arts Initiatives (2007 and 2009) the Andy Warhol Foundation (2008), and the Prince Claus Fund (2009). She was born in Guadeloupe, is based in New Orleans and works in situ.

(Press information)

Biennale Bénin 2012
8 November 2012 - 13 January 2013
Cotonou, Porto-Novo, Ouidah, Abomey

Inventing the World: The Artist as Citizen

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