For the first time in Morocco and the African continent, Le Cube – independent art room invites Maria Hanl for a monographic exhibition that comes as a follow-up to her artist residency.
With her work the Austrian artist Maria Hanl never ceases to question the position individuals occupy in a society that we mould and which influences us and manipulates us in return.
Since 2011, with a shoulder-strapped camera, she explores malls, these modern temples of consummation and leisure, going in search for decorative details, in Morocco like elsewhere, that contribute in the creation of timeless and artificial spaces: a utopia of a heavenly world, like for instance that bucolic picnic scene with a checkered tablecloth laid on an artificial grass with plastic squirrels and fairies installed on flowering swings, discovered in Rabat.
Architecture participates in the theatricalness of the space with its suspended galleries where we can contemplate and be observed. In addition, she refers to sacral connotations by recreating the space where the glass atrium seems to let through the heavenly light that could be reached by escalators leading us straight to the buyer’s paradise.
By the extraction of the staging details that she reuses in different mediums (videos, scenes in caissons, installations and photographs), Maria Hanl takes us to the virtual world of these malls where we evolve like within a bubble. She challenges us with questions about our role of consumers and the position as individuals in our society.
The subject of her exhibition is summarized in the video of passers-by strolling in a shopping center. Filmed through the windows of an aquarium, she offers a view of an artificial and unreal world where passersby stroll surrounded by exotic fish. Passers and fish are floating in a dreamlike world where time seems to have stopped in an atmosphere of torpor: the comedy of exoticism reaches its climax.
In wooden boxes, she recreates the exotic world from images of elements cut out and positioned in a way that the viewer becomes himself part of the staging. We enter the world of the artist, assented or submissive, just like an actor in our society.
The photographs isolate the elements that participate in the creation of this unreal and improbable world where living plants wither for lack of care and natural light. They thus accentuate its absurdity and make the subterfuge even more blatant and absurd.