Yto Barrada / The Sample Book / Vienne


Yto Barrada
The Sample Book
September 8 – November 1, 2016
Vienna Secession, Austriche.


Yto Barrada, The Sample Book, exhibition view, Secession 2016, Photo: Iris Ranzinger


Yto Barrada’s exhibition The Sample Book presents a new body of work that builds on the artist’s recent major cycle Faux Guide and her study of fossils in Morocco.

In her 2015 film essay Faux Départ (False Start), Barrada takes viewers on a journey through the parallel economy of paleontological excavation sites and “dinosaur tourism” between the Atlas mountains and the Sahara desert, once an inland sea. The “preparators” who unearth, work up—and sometimes counterfeit—fossil evidence demonstrate remarkable skill and knowledge as they prepare ancient pieces for sale or author beautiful hand-molded fake-fossil souvenirs.

Ever since her first major series, A Life Full of Holes: The Strait Project (1998–2004), Barrada has been interested in informal and parallel economies as survival strategies. Her work went on to explore, among other subjects, such forms of “resistance” as smuggling, contraband, the subversion of public space, satire and humor, and magic.

Following the trope of holes and blanks, Barrada focuses not so much on her subjects themselves as on the traces they leave. Her exhibitions often include ‘ready-made’ found objects or daily things overlooked by others, which become iconic in the complex stories she spins.

The Sample Book, like Faux Guide before it, is a constellation of numerous works that function independently of each other while also being integral parts of a larger ensemble. The pieces are so heterogeneous that the connections between them are not readily apparent, but they are tied together by a system of subtle correspondences on the level of content. Their stories become more complex the more intricately the artist intertwines or interweaves the individual elements; more properly speaking, they tell multiple—true as well as fictional—stories.





The Sample Book
116 pages
Format: 170 x 300 mm
Details: Soft cover, blind embossing, staple binding
Secession 2016
Distribution: Revolver Verlag


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