Press releases

The Mediterranean will be at the heart of ARCOmadrid 2023

´The Mediterranean: A Round Sea´ will be a programme made up of artists and galleries from the countries that surround it, selected by the curator Marina Fokidis, and the advisors Bouchra Khalili and Hila Peleg.

21 Jun 2022

The 42nd edition of ARCOmadrid, the fair organised by IFEMA MADRID, will be held from February 22nd to 26th, 2023 with the Mediterranean as its core project.

`The Mediterranean: A Round Sea´, the programme curated by Marina Fokidis with the advice of Bouchra Khalili and Hila Peleg will revolve around the art scenes of the countries surrounding it, from south to north and coast to coast. The curatorial team will present a series of artists and galleries from the countries of this rich and complex geography.

In addition to the selection of galleries, there will also be a forum dedicated to research into the shared culture of the Mediterranean countries, to take place on the Friday and Saturday of the fair, in which collectors and curators will be joined by theorists, writers and performers who will generate a conceptual context that will accompany galleries and artists.

Along with this programme ‘Mediterranean: A Round Sea’, ARCOmadrid 2023 will also continue its usual programmes from previous editions meaning the fair’s artistic contents will be completed with the main backbone of the Fair, the General Programme, made up of galleries selected by the Organising Committee, in addition to the curated sections.

ARCOmadrid will celebrate its 42nd edition from February 22nd to 26th, 2023, in halls 7 and 9 of IFEMA MADRID.

The Mediterranean: A Round Sea

Curator: Marina Fokidis / Advisors: Bouchra Khalili and Hila Peleg

Approaching the subject of the ‘Mediterranean’ within the context of ARCOmadrid seems like a complex endeavor. How can we open up a discussion on this uncontrollable, bittersweet creature? How can we instigate a reunion focusing on this contested sea, which has been (and continues to be) shaped by succeeding conquests and imperial rules, as well as by a unique sort of ‘convivencia: a set of transformative South–South alliances that have impacted societies all over the world?

The Mediterranean Sea is round; so is the skirt of a whirling dervish, the repeated turning gesture of a flamenco dancer’s whist, the shape of a traditional Greek dance, a lifeboat in the middle of the sea (the flip side of ‘convivencia’). So are the sun and the moon.

 In fact, everything that exists in the cosmos operates in circular motions and patterns. A circle has no baseline. It has no right or left, bottom or top. It rolls. What goes around, comes around. Maybe, then, a more spherical awareness is urgently needed again, towards this very particular region with its mobile and unstable geography and its gravitational pull. What does the ‘Mediterranean’ mean for people who inhabit its shores and islands and cross its surface?

Downside up and sideways networks are what this project is aiming to mobilize in an effort to instigate a meeting point for shared intensities. Drawing perspectives from the Mediterranean shores, the hope is to stimulate a temporary space where participants will perform time, history and contemporaneity, in whichever ways they wish - beyond imposed restrictions and cultural assumptions. Our recent isolation promoted a new sort of alienation, vaster than even before. Opening up a space where people can meet (again) and imagine the possibility of other ways of being in the world, seems to be a good remedy for re-addressing a creative togetherness.

Marina Fokidis

Marina Fokidis, is a curator, writer, lecturer and institution-maker based in Athens Greece. Her methodology of challenging the prevalent monetary economy with a love economy harnesses the power of trans-cultural friendships while emphasizing site-sensitivity and sharing. In 2010 she founded the independent space Kunsthalle Athena to reflect on the “social role of art institutions in the 21st century”; while in 2012, she founded South as a State of Mind magazine, a biannual arts and culture journal that creates unexpected dialogues between distinct neighborhoods, cities, regions and approaches. In 2014, she was invited to become part of the core team for documenta 14 by artistic director Adam Szymczyk. She is currently curator the public program for Salzburg International Summer Academy for Fine Arts. In 2020 she was the curator for Vanderbilt University’s EADJ (Engine of Art Democracy and Justice) year-long program Living in Common in the Precarious Souths, for which she received a curatorial award of excellence by the Association of Art Museum Curators ( US). In 2001, she was one of the curators of the 1st Tirana Biennial. In 2003 she was both the commissionaire and the curator for the Greek Pavilion of the 50th Biennale di Venezia, in 2011 she co-curated the 3rd Thessaloniki Biennial, (A Rock and a Hard Place). Between 2013 and 2014 she was the curator of exhibitions and public program and also initiated the curators’ residency  for Schwarz Foundation -Art Space Pythagorion in Samos, Greece.

Additionally Fokidis has curated exhibitions in various institutions,  reflecting on the aforementioned  issues at   Chrisitne Koenig Gallery, Art Dubai performance program, Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, and Quarter-Florence, Deste Foundation Athens, Living Art museum Iceland, among many others.

She is also regularly invited to lecture, give seminars and contribute to discussions and debates, notably in UDK  (Universitat DER KUNSTE ) , Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst / Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig, HEAD- Geneva, Art Basel Conversations, Sao Paolo Biennial, Liverpool Biennial, Berlin Biennial, among others. Fokidis has juried for international awards including the Furla Award, the Deste Prize, the Bes Revelaco /Serralves Museum award.

Fokidis is part of the editorial board and a regular editor of Flash Art Magazine and has contributed texts in various other arts and culture magazines, book anthologies and artists’ catalogues.

Bouchra Khalili

Bouchra Khalili is a Moroccan-born interdisciplinary artist, educator, and cultural activist working primarily with video, film, installation, photography, printmaking and editorial projects. For the last two decades, she has been developing a collaborative practice with undocumented workers and communities of immigrant descent in the Global North on topics related to imperial and colonial continuum and the politics of memory of anti-colonial struggle and international solidarity.

Her work questions issues of self-representation, public visibility, and strategies of resistance of subjects rendered invisible by the nation-state.

In her practice, she articulates first person accounts at the intersection of micro-history and collective memory of suppressed histories, challenging restrictive conceptions of citizenry.

Khalili's work has been subject to numerous solo exhibitions internationally, such as recently at the Bildmuseet, Umeå (Sweden, 2021-2022); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2019), Museum Folkwang, Essen; Jeu de Paume National Gallery, Paris; MAXXI Museum, Roma; Vienna Secession (2018); CAAC, Sevilla (2017); MoMA, New York (2016); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2015); DAAD galerie, Berlin (2013) among others.

She participated to major group shows such as Documenta 14 Athens, Kassel; Triennale di Milano; Asian Biennial, Taipei (2017); 6th Marrakech Biennial (2016); 8th Gotenborg Biennale (2015); 55th Venice Biennale; 5th Moscow Biennial (2013); 18th Biennale of Sydney (2012); 10th Sharjah Biennial (2011).

Khalili is the recipient of several international awards and fellowships. Among her affiliations, she's a co-founder of La Cinémathèque de Tanger - an artist's run non-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting film culture in Northern Morocco. Bouchra Khalili is Professor and Head of Department of Artistic Strategies at die Angewandte University in Vienna, Austria. She lives and works between Paris and Berlin.

Hila Peleg

Hila Peleg is a curator at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin. She was previously a curator of documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel (2017), of the 10th Shanghai Biennale (2014) and of Manifesta 7 in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol (2008). In 2010 she founded the Berlin Documentary Forum, a biennial event devoted to the production and presentation of contemporary and historical documentary practices in an interdisciplinary context. She was the artistic director of the Berlin Documentary Forum until 2014. More recently, Peleg was a guest curator at the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2018) and at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal (2019). She is the editor of the books Documentary Across Disciplines (2016, MIT Press), CP138: Gordon Matta-Clark (2020, Walther König), Alanis Obomsawin: Lifework (2022, PRESTEL) and Feminist Wolrdmaking and the Moving Image (2022, MIT Press). Her present project The Children Have to Hear Another Story: Alanis Obomsawin is running in HKW, Berlin until April 2022 and at the Museum of the University of Toronto, and at the Art Gallery of Vancouver in 2023.