Yto Barrada (Moroccan, b.1971, Paris) studied history and political science at the Sorbonne and photography in New York. Her work— including photography, film, sculpture, prints and installations—began by exploring the peculiar situation of her hometown Tangier. Barrada’s work has been exhibited at Tate Modern (London), MoMA (New York), Renaissance Society (Chicago), Witte de With (Rotterdam), Haus der Kunst (Munich), Guggenheim (Berlin), the Centre Pompidou (Paris), the Walker Art Centre (Minneapolis), Whitechapel Gallery (London), and the 2007 and 2011 Venice Biennales.
She was the Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year for 2011, after which her exhibit RIFFS toured widely. Barrada is also the founding director of Cinémathèque de Tanger. She is a recipient of the 2013-2014 Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography (Peabody Museum at Harvard University), the 2015 Abraaj Group Art Prize and a 2016 Canon Tiger Award for Short Film. In 2016, she was nominated for the Marcel Duchamp Prize.
London—Pace London is pleased to present Faux Guide, an exhibition of new work by Yto Barrada, on view at 6 Burlington Gardens from 26 June to 8 August 2015.
Faux Guide extends the exploration of palaeontology, museology and natural history in Morocco that Barrada launched in her Abraaj Group Art Prize show during Art Dubai and coincides with Salon Marocain, a solo exhibition of her work at the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto, on view through 20 September.
In Autumn 2015, in conjunction with the exhibition,A Guide to Fossils for Forgers and Foreigners will be published: a catalogue of Barrada’s new work and a patchwork of texts written and selected by the artist, which considers patrimony and shifting definitions of authenticity, with her trademark humour, subtlety and wit.
The arid region between the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert—once the floor of an ancient ocean—has become an El Dorado for fossil discoveries and exploitation. This gold rush gave birth to a pyramid-shaped industry of motivated professionals, from the autodidact fossil hunter parsing rocks on a mountainside; to “preparators” who use dental tools to expose the ancient specimens; to rock-shop operators, wholesalers, auction houses, decorators and paleontologists.
Barrada’s new film Faux départ (False Start) is a trancelike journey across this landscape: a film essay which includes the most creative preparators, who fabricate fake fossils, and meditations on geological time and the story of the planet.
Faux Guide is partly Barrada’s personal museum, with the artist as faux guide, like the casbah hustler bringing tourists into a city of his own invention.
The act of collecting—by the scientist and ethnographer; the artist; the museum curator; the amateur collector; to the child collecting rocks that look like camels—is both a preoccupation of the exhibit and it’s mode of presentation. Barrada’s new body of work also appropriates aspects of museum practice— including the readymade and the vitrine—as part of its conceptual strategy.
Underscoring the role of geology, the exhibition design adopts the structure of a geological time scale, demarcated by coloured bands of Berber carpets that correspond to painted sections of the wall.
The show includes photographs of dinosaur footprints and children’s toys from the 1930s, real and fake fossils, a mold of the hand of a fossil preparatory, a model of a complete dinosaur and pedagogical paintings.
Notions of the imprint stretch across Faux Guide, evinced in the relationship between the fossil as a physical imprint and its production of paleontological, geological and historical knowledge. A series of cast assemblages in plaster extrapolate the notion of the imprint to aesthetic terrain, suggesting the affinity between the use of cast sculptures and models of nature used by artists, scientists, and museums. More quotidian objects—photographs, educational aids and industrial objects—are inflected with anonymous but personal histories or specific use values. These objects serve as alternatives to those that are traditionally sanctioned for ethnographic museum collections, especially state-run ones.
In 2015, Pace London was honoured to present Faux Guide, an exhibition of all new works by Yto Barrada which has since travelled to the Serralves Foundation in Porto and the Carré d'Art in Nîmes; and later this Fall, its next iteration will be unveiled at the Museum Leuven in Brussels, and The Power Plant in Toronto. Barrada’s work can also currently be viewed at Manifesta 11 in Zurich, and the Beirut Art Centre, as well as in her solo exhibitions at Secession in Vienna, and Tabakalera in
The Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art presents the first solo exhibition in Portugal of the work of Yto Barrada. Continuing with her exploration of Moroccan identity and the question of origins, Barrada transforms the Serralves Villa into a museum of modern and natural history. Salon Marocain will run until 20 September and will coincide with Barrada’s upcoming Pace London exhibition Faux Guide. Salon Marocain is curated by Suzanne Cotter, Director, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art
Yto Barrada uses photography, prints, film, sculpture and installation to explore the identity of her home town, Tangier and the relationship between unchecked urban development, the botanical landscape, and the subtle forms of resistance that humans—and plants—attempt against the forces of monoculture. The High Line is an elevated freight rail line turned public park in Manhattan, New York. Friends of the High Line commission public art projects and present a diverse collection of artworks