Yto Barrada review: Seismic shifts in Morocco are felt powerfully at the Barbican

Here, the opening of the first review for Yto Barrada’s Agadir installation (see previous post for details):

Matthew Collins writes in the Go London section of the Evening Standard:

Conceptual art’s present day fall-out discipline, installationism, can often seem like avant-garde stunts plus geography lessons.

As with anything that has become a routine there can be trouble propping the eyelids up. But Yto Barrada, the celebrated 46-year-old Moroccan artist based in New York, is a force of life and her new show in the Barbican Gallery’s Curve space is a delight.

There are live performances, a mural, collages, a lot of wickerwork sculptures (wickerwork is on sale in markets throughout Morocco and is a big tourist draw), and an eight-minute movie created by Barrada. The performances will run throughout the show and are enactments of passages from the 1967 novel Agadir, by Moroccan author Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine, who died in 1995. This is the first time it’s been translated into English.

You sit on wickerwork chairs at different points up and down the space and listen to recordings of parts of the novel read (very well) by actors coming from speakers hidden within the woven rattan material.

(Yto Barrada, courtesy Pace Gallery; Sfeir-Semler Gallery,
Hamburg, Beirut; and Galerie Polaris, Paris)

The whole show is an interweaving of bits and pieces. Khaïr-Eddine’s text is intentionally giddying. We hear about kings, perverts and crazies, about the tourist industry, the US food trade, Bedouins, assassins and the Serpent Queen of Barbary.

Read the rest of the review here.

And, below, a few photos from the installation/performance, showing the actors reading Khaïr-Eddine’s Agadir texts:

 

 

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