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Yto Barrada & Hala Elkoussy Open at Goteborgs Konsthall
Hala Elkoussy (1974, Egypt), On sets, refrains and a backdrop, 2006, DVD (47 min), photographic wallparer, curtains and assorted chairs and furniture. Courtesy: Hala Elkoussy.

GOTEBORG.- The first exhibition at the Göteborgs Konsthall for 2009 comprises two separate presentations by the artists Yto Barrada and Hala Elkoussy. This is the first major exhibition of the work of these noted artists to be held in Sweden. Running parallel with the exhibition and the Göteborg Film Festival will also be the film programme “Another Border”, curated in collaboration with the Cinématčque in Tangier.

Yto Barrada - Yto Barrada (born 1971, Morocco/France) initially studied history and political science at the Sorbonne in Paris, but – limited by the academic discourse – she shifted into to field of art. In 1998 she started describing the situation in her home town, Tangier in Morocco, through the photo project A Life Full of Holes; The Strait Project. In this work she portrays people whose daily lives have stagnated and are now defined by their dream of crossing the Straits of Gibraltar. Theirs is a life lacking existence in the present, filled with frustrated dreams and an urge to create a better future for themselves in Europe. Her next artwork, Iris Tingitana, takes the botanical landscape as its starting point. Here she depicts the transformation of Tangier now taking place in attempts to adapt the town to suit the tourist industry. The introduced flora is just one instance of the impoverishing of multiplicity, and illustrates how a country – in its search for modernisation – adapts the public space and creates monocultures.

Hala Elkoussy - In the work of Hala Elkoussy (born 1974, Egypt) the human being and the social interaction are the key ingredients. Several of her works have as their subject Cairo, the city of her birth, along with the people living there and the changes imposed by modernisation and globalisation. Her video presentations seldom follow any rigid narrative style but are often as fragmentary as chapters in an essay. This disjointed structure is frequently reinforced by stylistic variations, ranging from an interview of documentary character to sequences of poetic description. Elkoussy makes use of personal narratives, media reports and pop culture products, and focuses on both everyday banalities and on human longings, dreams and hopes.

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January 24, 2009

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Yto Barrada & Hala Elkoussy Open at Goteborgs Konsthall

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