In her exhibition Faux Guide, Yto Barrada uses her recent work around fossil evidence, museology and natural history in Morocco to examine the authenticity and forgery of artifacts; and by means of their collection and distribution, the construction of historical and national narr
Yto Barrada’s solo exhibition at The Power Plant continues the artist’s recent work around fossil evidence, paleontology, museology and natural history in Morocco. At the centre of the exhibition is Faux départ (2015), a film that pays homage to the fossil "preparators" in the arid region between the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert, whose intrepid work is fuelling a thriving trade in artifacts real, faux and hybrid. A rebuke to the fetishistic thirst for foreign objects, Faux départ is a sly meditation on authenticity and a paean to creativity. The exhibition presents a comprehensive selection of works from Barrada’s new series Faux Guide, including photographs of children’s toys from North Africa (North African Toys Series, 2015), which are part of the collection of the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, assembled by French ethnographers in the 1930s.
Structured like a personal museum, Barrada takes viewers through these artifacts, real and fake, to consider the act of collecting as a means of crafting national narratives. These conceptual strategies are also dealt with in Geological Time Scale (2015), a collection of Berber carpets that point to our shared roots in Pangaea, and A Guide to Trees for Governors and Gardeners (2014), a film that explores fictional notions of the idealised urban life.
Faux Guide is accompanied by the artist’s book A Guide to Fossils for Forgers and Foreigners, available in three languages and published by Walther König, Cologne and co-produced by Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto; Carré d'art – Musée d'art contemporain, Nîmes; and The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto.