Yto Barrada, After Stella (Ibn Battouta), Fig. 1, 2019, cotton, linen, silk, plant extracts © Yto Barrada

Yto Barrada

The Power of Two Suns

LMCC's Arts Center, Governor's Island, New York

September 19 – October 31, 2019

This month, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) inaugurates its newly renovated 40,000-square-foot space on Governors Island in New York with an exhibition of works by Yto Barrada and guest artist Bettina.

If environmental catastrophe stems in part from the amplified solar radiation caused by the greenhouse effect, can solace be found in the amplifying power of solidarity? Can you stop a tide the way you trap a crab? These questions guide (opens in a new window) Yto Barrada: The Power of Two Suns. Showcased in the upper level gallery of LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island, The Power of Two Suns reflects Barrada’s response to our individual and collective reactions to the onset of disaster, ecological or otherwise, and her abiding interest in relationships across cities, islands and time.

While researching her project at LMCC, Barrada visited Tangier Island, Virginia. There, she learned that local islanders were hoping for a sea wall to contain the flood when faced with the Chesapeake Bay’s rising waters. Through the lens and site of Governors Island and its long military history, Barrada’s show acknowledges the temptation of insularity as protection from the world, and the embrace of hospitality as an act of care and collective resistance. Barrada expresses this invitational gesture by inviting a fellow artist into her space at Governors Island: Bettina, who once lost all her work to a devastating fire, before remaking it over decades from the solitary refuge of a room in the Chelsea Hotel.

Sharing an interest in collecting, grids and taxonomies, language and wordplay, and in that special place where the patience of craft meets the intelligence of concept, Barrada and Bettina’s works spring from a careful observation of their respective environments. In the exhibition, curated by Omar Berrada, this method of documentary abstraction aims not at didactic exposé but at formal invention, channeling these ideas through clear lines, simple shapes and a dramatically reduced palette—as though to convert the ominous sense of an ending into the primordial forms of a new, quieter beginning. The Power of Two Suns by Yto Barrada marks the artist’s first major presentation in Lower Manhattan and the first public exhibition by special guest artist Bettina.

For more information, please visit LMCC's (opens in a new window) website.

  • Artist Projects — "Yto Barrada: The Power of Two Suns" at LMCC Arts Center, Sep 9, 2019