Yto Barrada

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Yto Barrada (born 1971 in Paris)[1] is a visual artist living and working in Tangier, Morocco and New York City.

Life and work[edit]

Yto Barrada is the daughter of French journalist Hamid Barrada. She studied history and political science at the Sorbonne in Paris and photography at the International Centre of Photography, New York.

Her Strait Project, begun in 1998, describes the static and transitory life of her hometown, the border city facing Europe across the Strait of Gibraltar.[2] Her photographs capture a city tortured by dreams very different from those in tourist brochures, where thousands of immigrants attempt to make the illegal and perilous journey across the Strait.[3]

Her recent work, Iris Tingitana, follows a different border, examining the interstices where the botanical landscape meets the urban, and Flowers,[4][5] extending her inquiry to the fast-growing edges of the city, where the monocultural vision of planners and developers threatens to homogenize landscape and human lives.[6]

With producer Cyriac Auriol, she is artistic director and co-founder of the Cinematheque de Tanger.[7] She is also a member of the Beirut-based Arab Image Foundation.[8]

Recent activities[edit]

Recent exhibitions of photography and video include Witte de With (Rotterdam), Fundaciò Tàpies (Barcelona), Jeu de Paume (Paris), Haus der Kunst (Munich), the Kitchen (New York), the MoMA (San Francisco and New York), Bonner Kunstverein, Modern Art Oxford, and Centre Pompidou, the 2007 and 2011Venice Biennale "The world belongs to you at the Pallazio Grassi]. In 2006, Barrada was awarded the first Ellen Auerbach Award in Berlin. Her book, A Life Full of Holes – The Strait Project, was published by Autograph ABP in 2006. In 2011, she was awarded Artist of the year 2011 by the Deutsche Bank and in April 2011, she had a solo exhibition untitled Riffs at the Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin (2011), that was scheduled to open in September in Wiels, Bruxelles, and next June in Ikon, Birmingham.

  • The title of her book is "borrowed" from A Life Full of Holes as told by Larbi Layachi (aka Driss Ben Hamed Charhadi) and translated in English by Paul Bowles.ISBN 0-394-17946-3. Copyright 1982 by Larbi Layachi.
  • She has recently published "RIFFS" with Hatze Kantz and the limited edition A Guide to Trees for Governors and Gardeners with the Deutsche Gugenheim.

A monograph on her work was published by JRP Ringier in 2013, with texts from Marie Muracciole, Juan Goytisolo, and a photographic essay by Jean-François Chevrier.

Selected exhibitions[edit]

  • La courte échelle (ou l’échelle des voleurs) – Studio Fotokino, Marseille, 2013[9]
  • Mobilier Urbain – The Pace Gallery, London – 2012[10]
  • Riffs – Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin – 2011[11]
  • Women Artists in the Collections of the National Modern Art Museum: elles@centrepompidou – 2011
  • Play – Galerie Sfeir Semler, Beyrouth – 2010[12]
  • Uneven Geographies – Nottingham Contemporary – 2010[13]


  • Godfrey, Mark; Demos, TJ; Weizman, Eyal; Hameed, Ayesha: "Rights of Passage" Tate Issue 19 (2010)
  • Demos TJ: "Life Full of Holes" Grey Room no. 24 (2006) pp. 72–88
  • Downey, Anthony. “Yto Barrada, ‘A Life Full of Holes: The Strait Project’ ”, "Third Text", vol. 20, Issue 5, (2006), pp. 617–626


  1. ^ "Yto Barrada, artist and art". Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  2. ^ Tazi, Nadia (2007). "The State of the Straits". Artefall (16): 91–106. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  3. ^ Skye Sherwin (22 December 2011). "Artist of the week 169: Yto Barrada". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "That Unruly, Serendipitous Show in Venice", The New York Times 15 June 2007. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  5. ^ Flowers posters; Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  6. ^ "Yto Barrada Riffs". Deutsche Guggenheim. 15 April 2001. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "Butts in seats: an experiment in re-creating the culture of cinema in Tangier" A lecture by Yto Barrada (2010)
  8. ^ "Arab Image Foundation – About us > Organization Governance". Arab Image Foundation. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  9. ^ Studio Fotokino, Marseille
  10. ^ The Pace Gallery, London
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ Galerie Sfeir Semler, 2010
  13. ^ Nottingham Contemporary – 2010

External links[edit]