Riffs is the first survey exhibition of the work of Yto Barrada, whose photographs, films, publications, installations and sculptures engage with the peculiar situation of her hometown of Tangier, Morocco, situated on the Strait of Gibraltar, transformed into a dead end since the 1991 Schengen agreement.
"I've always been attentive to what lies beneath the surface of public behavior," says Yto Barrada in the interview with Negar Azimi (Riffs catalogue). "I'm a big reader of Swift. In public, the oppressed accept their domination, but they always question their domination offstage. Subversive tactics, strategies of class contestation, forms of sabotage used by the poor - this is what I am most interested in."
The title of the show, Riffs, simultaneously refers to the musical term and to the choice to mix different series and media, but also to the nearby Rif mountains where a historic revolt took place in 1921 and to the Cinéma Rif, home of the Tangier Cinematheque, which Barrada directs, and which will present a programm of films in the exhibition.
Yto Barrada is Deutsche Bank's Artist of the Year 2011', an award not based on a financial reward, but positioned as an integral part of Deutsche Bank's commitment to contemporary art, a program which includes a solo exhibition at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin which travels to WIELS, a publication and acquisitions for the Deutsche Bank Collection.