Pace Gallery presents a site-specific installation by Yto Barrada

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Pace Gallery presents a site-specific installation by Yto Barrada
Installation view of Yto Barrada: Paste Papers 540 West 25th Street, New York September 14, 2019 – September 14, 2020 Photographed by Kyle Knodell, courtesy Pace Gallery.

NEW YORK, NY.- As part of Pace’s inaugural program for its global headquarters on view at 540 West 25th Street, the gallery presents a site‑specific installation by Yto Barrada in its new 10,000 volume research library on the first floor. Inspired by designs that the artist discovered in the endpapers of books within the library of the late architect Luis Barragán at his home in Mexico City, Barrada created a wallpaper that covers the entire south wall of the library. Additionally, the exhibition features a series of smaller framed works on paper that influenced Barrada’s special commission for Pace. Paste Papers is on view from September 14 – December 20, 2019.

Barrada’s wallpaper employs the techniques of paste paper—a centuries old practice used to embellish book covers and end papers with decorative patterns and abstract designs. This paper fills the wall of the gallery’s new research library which holds Pace’s vast archival materials and catalogues produced throughout its nearly six‑ decade history. Dating back to the 16th century, paste paper is one of the oldest decorated‑paper forms used by bookbinders, a connection that ties to the library as the exhibition space for the work. This traditional technique consists of applying paint in one or more colors to a sheet of paper with a brush or sponge. Directly after the application of the paint, decorative patterns are made using various tools. Deviating from the traditional technique, Barrada’s wallpaper was made using everyday objects, a comb, keys, a twig, fingers. Enrolling the help of friends, kids, and collaborators, the artist’s paste papers let go of the traditional precision of the technique in favor of moments of play and spontaneity.

A series of framed practice pieces have been installed directly over the wallpaper, referencing the endpapers found in Luis Barragán’s studio library in Mexico City. The artist found these papers in books with titles such as: The Art of Gardens; The Grain Silo-Citadels of Morocco; Coatlicue; Max Ernst; Spanish Andalucia and Parables and Evangelical Allegories, among others, will be installed directly over the wallpaper. In conjunction with the exhibition at the gallery,

Yto Barrada (b. 1971, Paris) is recognized for her multidisciplinary investigations of cultural phenomena, with a focus on Morocco. Grounded in documentary photography, her practice also encompasses other media including film, sculpture, painting, printmaking, and publishing, through both original work and found objects. Informed by postcolonial thought and socio‑political concerns, Barrada’s interests range from the tensions around borders, immigration, and tourism to the urban landscape, and from children’s toys to botany and paleontology. Avoiding direct reportage of dramatic events, her work includes photographs of vacant lots and accounts of the Moroccan fossil trade that relate microhistories and focus on economic and cultural issues. She initiates cross‑cultural dialogue by reinterpreting social relationships, uncovering subaltern histories, and revealing the prevalence of fiction in institutionalized narratives.

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