Yto Barrada: The Sample Book

Secession, Vienna, Austria
08 Sep 2016 - 01 Nov 2016

Yto Barrada: The Sample Book

Since A Life Full of Holes: The Strait Project (1998–2004), Yto Barrada has continued to explore the specific condition of her hometown Tangier, and Morocco in general, against the backdrop of global political and economic shifts. She regards her topic from surprising angles, as if “entering through the backdoor”—always with empathy, subtlety, and humor.

With her latest body of works for her exhibition The Sample Book at the Secession, Barrada pursues and extends her recent work that deals with fossil evidence, museology, and natural history. The exhibition juxtaposes her latest film Faux départ (False Start, 2015) with photograms, textiles and sculptures that find inspiration in fields as diverging as traditional crafts and scientific visualization.

In Faux départ Barrada studies the elaborate fossil industry along the so-called “Dinosaur Road.” In particular, this essay film pays homage to the “préparateurs” in the arid region between the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert, whose intrepid work fuels a thriving trade in artifacts—real, faux and hybrid. Faux départ is a rebuke to the fetishistic thirst for foreign objects, a sly meditation on authenticity, and a paean to creativity.

For the Secession exhibition, Barrada has also been working in a darkroom to create color photograms—photographs made directly under the enlarger’s lamp without using a camera. These are informed by the graphic conventions used by geologists in their mapping of the earth’s layers. In these diagrams, prehistoric eras are represented by colors, various types of rock formations by patterns. The exhibition also debuts Barrada’s new work with textiles, including natural dyes, embroidery, collage, and color-sample books.

The exhibition title refers to the samples of colored fabric bound in brochures, which professionals in the textile and dye industry have been using over the centuries. The exhibition will be accompanied by an artist’s book entitled The Sample Book.

Yto Barrada was born in Paris in 1971 and currently lives and works in New York City. She was recently nominated for the 2016 Marcel Duchamp Prize.

Curated by Bettina Spörr


Opening: September 7, 7pm




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