Yto Barrada. Bite the Hand at Pace, London

In her new exhibition for Pace Gallery, London, Yto Barrada explores history, memory, and politics through a diverse array of media centered around her textile works. The work of the Franco-Moroccan artist is highlighted in its interdisciplinary nature, symbolism, and chromatic representations of time which permeate the works, from abstract maps of her dye garden to hourglass patterns and botanical forms.

Installation view of Yto Barrada, Bite the Hand, 2024. © Pace Gallery

Central to her practice is the idea of reclaiming rhythms and temporality through the art and science of natural dyes and an awareness of how time shapes our experiences. Accordingly, the exhibition title, Bite the Hand, carries a playful irony, referencing the French term “mordant” used in dyeing while also suggesting deeper themes of resistance and decomposition in the face of industrial processes.

Yto Barrada, Untitled (Color Wheel I), 2024. © Pace Gallery

The film installation A Day is Not a Day delves into the surreal world of industrial weather testing, highlighting the tensions between natural processes and the relentless march of mechanisation. This work intertwines melodies of decay and inheritance, using a specialised visual language that connects with broader concepts of time and materiality.

Yto Barrada, Holes in the Moon, 2024. © Pace Gallery

A series of aluminium, brass, and copper works, collectively titled variations of Holes in the Moon, explore the concept of toponymy in relation to the Moon. Among these works are references to the over 5000 impact craters dotting the Moon’s surface, with 24 of them named after medieval Islamic scholars. These lunar depressions, remnants of ancient asteroid impacts, endure in an environment devoid of wind, air, or erosion. Thus, the act of marking on the moon is akin to a durational art form, following the rhythm of lunar time—a timescale beyond Earth’s immediate memory.

Installation view of Yto Barrada, Bite the Hand, 2024. © Pace Gallery

This exhibition marks the first major show in London of Barrada’s textile works, all of which were dyed at The Mothership, her Tangier-based natural dye garden, eco-feminist research centre and artist residency, which opened to the public early this year.

The impact of Barrada’s work has been significant in recent years, with the artist’s participation in numerous group exhibitions and the presentation of major new commissions on an international stage, offering a unique perspective on themes of identity, hospitality, and the enduring traces of time on our natural and cultural landscapes.

Exhibition Information

March 22 – May 11, 2024
Pace Gallery
5 Hanover Square, London