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Figures Upon Landscape

Beau Geste: Yto Barrada

010_03 / 13 July 2016


Yto Barrada

Beau Geste

16mm, colour, sound

4 mins 5 secs


Tangier, 2009


The owner of one vacant lot had made a deep, fatal notch in this palm tree, a Phoenix Canariensis, and was waiting for it to fall. Then he could build on his lot.


The action – inspired by the diggers movement and the 1939 epic starring Gary Cooper – set out to interupt or delay this process. The phrase beau geste from the French, means a gracious gesture, often characterized by futility.


This selection of films, curated Jim Quilty, is presented on Ibraaz in collaboration with the Beirut Art Center.


About the author

Yto Barrada

Yto Barrada was born 1971 in Paris, grew up in Tangier, Morocco and now lives and works between New York and Tangier. She studied history and political science at the Sorbonne and photography in New York. Her work – ranging across photographs, films, publications, installations and sculptures – engages with the peculiar situation of her hometown, Tangier. Barrada's work has been shown in, and held in the collections of, major museums around the world including the Tate Modern, London; MoMA, New York; the Guggenheim, Berlin; the Renaissance Society, Chicago; Wiels Art Center, Brussels; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museo de Sao Paolo; and the 2007 and 2011 Venice Biennales. In 2015, she held solo exhibitions at the Serralves Museum, Porto, and Carré d'Art, Nimes. Upcoming 2016 exhibitions include The Power Plant, Toronto; the Secession, Vienna; and M Museum, Leuven.


Barrada's work has won numerous awards including the 2011 Deutsche Guggenheim Artist of the Year award, the 2015 Abraaj Group Art Prize, 2016 Tiger Award for short film and a nomination for the upcoming Prix Marcel Duchamp in Paris.