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 until 20 September.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Mack Books will publish A Guide to Fossils for Forgers and Foreigners, a catalogue of Barrada’s new work and a patchwork of texts written and selected by the artist, which consider 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.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Yto Barrada (b. 1971, Paris) grew up in Tangier and lives in New York. Solo exhibitions of her work have been presented at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2013–14); The Kitchen, New York (2006); Jeu de Paume, Paris (2006); and Witte de With Contemporary Art Centre, Rotterdam (2004). In recognition of her 2011 Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year award, her solo exhibition Riffs was presented at the Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, and travelled to Wiels, Brussels; The Renaissance Society, University of Chicago; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; MACRO–Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome; and Fotomuseum Winterthur.
Barrada was featured in the Venice Biennale in 2007 and 2011. Her work is in the permanent collections of numerous public institutions including the Kunsthalle Basel; Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo Internacional, Mexico City; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien–MUMOK, Vienna; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Modern, London; and Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
As an extension of her artistic practice, Barrada is a founding director of Cinémathèque de Tanger, North Africa’s first cinema cultural center, now ten years old.
In addition to her current exhibitions at Pace London and the Serralves Museum, her work is currently on view in Scenes for a New Heritage: Contemporary Art from the Collection, The Museum of Modern Art, New York and Poetics of Relation, Pérez Art Museum, Miami. Through 8 July, five of her films will be screened nightly on the High Line in New York, and her work will be featured in the Lyon Biennale, opening 10 September.
Pace is a leading contemporary art gallery representing many of the most significant international artists and estates of the 20th and 21st centuries. Founded by Arne Glimcher in Boston in 1960 and led by Marc Glimcher, Pace has been a constant, vital force in the art world and has introduced many renowned artists’ work to the public for the first time. Over the past five decades, the gallery has mounted more than 700 exhibitions, including scholarly shows that have subsequently traveled to museums, and has published nearly 400 exhibition catalogues. Today, Pace has eight locations worldwide: four galleries in New York; one in London; a 25,000 square-foot gallery in Beijing; an outpost in Hong Kong; and a gallery in Menlo Park, California.
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