What happens when a country sees a substantial part of its heritage disappear abroad? And how do you deal with a past that has been under pressure from the drive towards modernization and renewal? The answer of the Franco-Moroccan artist Yto Barrada (1971, Paris) is as refreshingly sobering as it is clear: who is threatened with losing their past can always create a new one.
In her latest series of photos, films and installations, Yto Barrada questions the rich world’s fetishistic thirst for foreign objects, offers a sly meditation on “authenticity” and “tradition,” and revels in artisanal creativity—even when it stretches to making fakes. Barrada’s solo exhibition at M includes her latest film, Faux Départ (2015), and a new installation, Salon Géologique (2016). Thus investigating the legacy of failed utopia’s, Barrada’s project for Leuven grants a central role to fossils, the notion of the imprint, and child’s play. At the same time, it develops a reflection on the future of the ethnographic museum.
Yto Barrada is realized by M – Museum Leuven in collaboration with KU Leuven as a part of Tracing the Future, a group show at five different locations throughout the city of Leuven. It is organized within the larger framework of celebrating the 500th anniversary of the publication of Thomas More’s book Utopia in Leuven.
Yto Barrada 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 the recipient of multiple fellowships and awards, and has recently been nominated for the Marcel Duchamp Prize.