Yto Barrada’s exhibition The Sample Book presents a new body of work that builds on the artist’s recent major cycle Faux Guide and her study of fossils in Morocco.
In her 2015 film essay Faux Départ (False Start), Barrada takes viewers on a journey through the parallel economy of paleontological excavation sites and “dinosaur tourism” between the Atlas mountains and the Sahara desert, once an inland sea. The “preparators” who unearth, work up—and sometimes counterfeit—fossil evidence demonstrate remarkable skill and knowledge as they prepare ancient pieces for sale or author beautiful hand-molded fake-fossil souvenirs.
Ever since her first major series, A Life Full of Holes: The Strait Project (1998–2004), Barrada has been interested in informal and parallel economies as survival strategies. Her work went on to explore, among other subjects, such forms of “resistance” as smuggling, contraband, the subversion of public space, satire and humor, and magic.