Yto Barrada: Salon Marocain 

Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto, Portugal
09 Jun 2015 - 20 Sep 2015

Yto Barrada: Salon Marocain 

Yto Barrada, Reprende Casa. Carrières centrales, Casablanca, 2013. Commission: Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal. Courtesy Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut / Hamburg. Photo: Yto Barrada.

The Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art presents the first solo exhibition in Portugal of the work of the Paris-born Moroccan artist Yto Barrada. Salon Marocain inaugurates a new annual exhibition programme in the Serralves Villa in which artists are invited to present their work in response to the context of the art deco villa and its location within the grounds of the Serralves Park.

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. Among the works presented are colour photographs of North African toys from the collection of ethnographer Thérèse Rivière, and a set of sculptures and crafted objects produced as part of the burgeoning market for fossil craft and their production in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. A selection of previously unseen photographs from her series “Modern Casablanca,” and her film Faux départ (False Start), on the production of fake fossils, further elaborate Barrada’s grammar of improvised forms. Presented in the elegant vitrines and marble-lined rooms of the Villa, Barrada’s work deftly points to intertwined histories of colonialism, the ethnographic roots of 20th-century modernism, and legacies of dispossession and ersatz accumulation informed by contemporary economic necessities.

Yto Barrada’s works of photography, film and constructed objects celebrate people and activities that resist situations of political, economic and social power. The figure of the smuggler, the botanist, and the forger, and the bricolaged craft of self-taught talents loom large in her works, as do the cultural lexicons of research and collecting. At their core, Morocco and its history, as seen through the eyes of administrators, collectors, tourists, novelists and adventurers, provide the fabric for a subtly pointed reflection on individual and collective spheres of identity and belonging.

A programme of film screenings in the gardens of Serralves, selected by the Cinémathèque de Tanger accompanies the exhibition. Cinémathèque de Tanger is an independent cinema and film archive that Barrada founded with a group of artists and filmmakers in an abandoned art deco movie palace, formerly called Cinéma Rif, on Tangier’s main market square. The films, by French, Mexican, German, Lebanese, Moroccon and North American artists, documentarists and filmmakers, address topics ranging from Morocco’s rich history and oral traditions, to postcolonialism and poetic elegies of the everyday.

Salon Marocain is curated by Suzanne Cotter, Director, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art.

Opening: 9 June, 6:30–8:30pm 


Yto Barrada was born in Paris in 1971 and grew up in Tangier, Morocco. She studied history and political science at the Sorbonne and photography in New York. Exhibitions of her work have been shown at the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2014), Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco (2012), the Renaissance Society, Chicago (2012), Tate Modern, London (2011), Haus der Kunst, Munich (2010) and Witte de With, Rotterdam (2004). In 2007 and 2011, Barrada participated in the 52nd and 54th editions of the Venice Biennial. She was the Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year for 2011. Barrada is the founding director of Cinémathèque de Tanger. 

The Serralves Museum of Contemporary is the foremost museum for contemporary art in Portugal, and one of Europe’s most renowned institutions for contemporary art and culture. Uniquely sited on the grounds of the Serralves Foundation, which also comprises a park and the Serralves Villa, a landmark art deco building, the Museum designed by Álvaro Siza opened in 1999. Through its exhibitions, collection, publications, performing arts, and public programmes, the Museum fosters the understanding and appreciation of contemporary art and culture in Portugal and around the world. 

Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art
Rua D. João de Castro, 210
4150–417 Porto


All content © 2024 Contemporary And. All Rights Reserved. Website by SHIFT