Deutsche Bank’s Artist of the Year 2011
Yto Barrada’s photographs, films, publications, installations and sculptures engage with the everyday life and times of Tangier, her hometown situated on the Strait of Gibraltar. The title of the show, RIFFS, simultaneously refers to the musical term, to the Cinéma Rif, home of the Cinémathèque de Tanger which Barrada directs, and to the nearby Rif mountains, a stronghold of anti-colonial insurgency in Morocco.
Barrada’s work combines the techniques of documentary with a more meditative approach to imagery. This exhibition, curated by Friedhelm Hütte and Marie Muracciole, is drawn from past series as well as new photographs and films, displaying the full range of media in which the artist works. In her first series A Life Full of Holes: The Strait Project (2002), Barrada evokes a Tangier where postcolonial history has met one of its dead-ends. The more recent Iris Tingitana (2007) extended this inquiry to the fast-growing outer edges of the city, where the monocultural vision of planners and developers threatens to homogenise landscape and human lives. The films Beau Geste (2009) and Hand-Me-Downs (2011) reiterate these themes at different levels. Memory and oblivion, history and unreliable narratives, hidden in the details and fragmentation of everyday life, characterise this exhibition.
One of the recurring figures in the exhibition is that of the tree – physical trees and family trees – serving as metaphors of resistance and strength, of developing levels of vision, of generational transmission, of changing times, of shelter, regeneration and nutrition, and also of decor and tourism.
This exhibition is organised in cooperation with Deutsche Bank. Yto Barrada is Deutsche Bank’s ‘Artist of the Year 2011’, an award not based on a financial reward, but positioned as an integral part of Deutsche Bank’s commitment to contemporary art. The programme includes a solo exhibition at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin which travels to Ikon and other museums, a publication and acquisitions for the Deutsche Bank Collection.