• Slides Yto Barrada 1

     

    Jeu de construction Thérèse (Thérèse Unit Blocks), 2017, Wood, paint, Variable dimensions. Courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery.

  • Slides Yto Barrada 2

     

    Danse Macabre (My-City-Knife-of-the-Sun), 2018, Wicker, reed, rope, wood, and metal, Variable dimensions. Courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery.

  • Slides Yto Barrada 3

     

    Tree Identification for Beginners, 2018, Still from 16mm film transferred to video, sound, 35 min, 15 sec. Courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery.

  • Slides Yto Barrada 4

     

    My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nougat, 2019, Letterpress print, 48 x 32 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery.

  • Slides Yto Barrada 5

     

    Practice Piece (Sewing Exercise #3G), 2019, Silver gelatin print, 35.5 x 28 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery.

  • Slides Yto Barrada 6

     

    Plan for a Dye Garden (Figure 2), 2019, Silk, dyes from plants, 101.5 x 105.5 x 1.5 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery.

Yto Barrada: My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nougat

Location: Makan and Galleries 1, 2, and 3

2 August 2020 - 30 November 2020

Tickets must be purchased online in advance of your visit.

Yto Barrada’s work engages with self-education, architecture, palaeontology, botany, and
modernist histories, in order to explore forms of knowledge production. Through material
and archival research and experimentation, Barrada’s work examines what is at stake in
specific moments of obstruction. Allowing the body of the histories and narratives she works
with to echo across one another, connections emerge between expressions of autonomy and
new relationships to temporality.

My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nougat brings together photographs, films,
videos, sculptures, prints, and fabric works. The exhibition focuses on threads of
regeneration and growth in social and geological transformation. The works highlight the
importance of the vernacular in processes of decomposition and revival, drawing on histories
of nation building and post-independence strategies of resistance in social and domestic life.

Weaving interdisciplinary methods within a framework of dark humour, global economy and
geologic time, the exhibition articulates a critical desire for equality, self-expression and
empowerment. This is evinced in the parallel but distinct lives of Barrada’s mother, Mounira
Bouzid El Alami, central protagonist of Tree Identification for Beginners (2018); French
ethnographer Thérèse Rivière; and Lebanese modernist Saloua Raouda Choucair, who play
crucial roles in this exhibition. Their life stories and practices in the fields of geometry,
architecture and botany are rich sources for Barrada’s (re)narration of modernist histories of
art, architecture, design and social development. These visionary women each engage with
abstract, self-taught ways of living and learning — techniques of creativity and inventiveness
— that are revalued as contemporary skills.

Working with tactics of self-learning and myth-making through theatrics and props, Barrada
challenges how plurality and validity exists and is disseminated. This take on the language of
learning is drawn on in the series Mnemonic Phrases (2019), from which this exhibition
borrows its title.

Yto Barrada (b.1971) is a Moroccan-French artist based between New York and Tangier.