Minneapolis, October 29 2013—On November 21 the Walker Art Center will open An Album: Cinematheque Tangier, a project by Yto Barrada—a multilayered exhibition of films, artworks, movie posters and ephemera exploring the practice of Tangier-based artist and filmmaker Yto Barrada—with a free Thursday night opening party with North African movies and music featuring New York’s DJ Rupture.
The North African city of Tangier has captured our collective imagination throughout time as a place eternally romanticized and immortalized in film and literature. Interested in the material history and visual culture of her hometown, Yto Barrada has developed an artistic practice combining documentary strategies with a metaphoric approach to imagery, resulting in body of poetic work that is internationally recognized. Recently Barrada’s practice has encompassed the founding of an artist-run, independent cinema in the heart of Tangier. Opened in 2006, Cinematheque Tangier occupies a theater constructed in the 1930s, an era that saw the rise of grand movie palaces. Today it operates not only as a fully functioning cinema with daily screenings, but as an archive and dynamic social space that engages various audiences with the city’s rich film history.
For Cinematheque Tangier, the Walker’s Burnet Gallery will be transformed into three sections: artworks, archives, and a screening room. The exhibition opens with an installation that situates Tangier geographically and culturally—a French map illustrating the location of movie theaters built when Tangier was an independent zone and a place for creative refuge and personal freedoms; and a wall installation of a phone directory of sorts that translates street names in French and its Arabic equivalent after Morocco’s independence in 1956.
Featured artworks include Palm Sign (2010), Barrada’s sculpture in the form of a movie marquee, and Hand-Me-Downs (2011), a montage of super-8 home movies from the 1960s, and artist-commissioned movie posters.
The archive area will house vintage movie posters, ephemera and Scopitone films created by Arab immigrants in France—many from Morocco and other North African countries who traveled to work in the post-WWII labor force. A short-lived genre that was a precursor to music videos, 16mm Scopitone films played on jukebox-like devices in cafés, and featured laborers singing their stories of migration and assimilation.
The installation is punctuated by a screening program of films culled from the cinematheque’s collection and the Walker’s Ruben/Bentson Film Video Collection. The elegiac 6/12 (1968) by Ahmed Bouanani pictures the streets of Tangier from 6 am to noon, and Beirut Outtakes (2007) shows a collage of film scraps from a closed down Beirut cinema by American film artist Peggy Awesh. The screening program will also include two works by Yto Barrada—Beau Geste (2009) and The Magician (2003).
Together the constellation of works in the exhibition—compiled by Barrada—creates an album that paints a rich and complex portrait of Tangier through the exploration of filmmaking in the region. As an extension of Barrada’s artistic practice, the cinematheque is as much as physical repository as it is a critical proposition to investigate the layered history of Morocco and the social and political realities that shape Tangier today.
Throughout March 2014, a series of films selected by Yto Barrada, Walker film curator Sheryl Mousley, and scholars Joëlle Vitiello (Macalester College) and Charles Signet (University of Minnesota) will play in the Walker Cinema and focus on films made in Tangier or that tell the larger story of life in the African diaspora. Selected from the Cinematheque’s archive as well as favorites of the Tangier audience, titles include El Chergui (1975) by Moumen Smihi, On The Edge (2012) by Leila Kilani, and Touki Bouki (1973) by Djibril Diop Mambéty. Also in the series will be a documentary, Trésors de scopitones (1992) by Michèle Colléry about the music/film jukebox that played songs of immigrant workers in France in the 1960s, and a work by William Klein, The Pan-African Festival of Algiers (1969).
About the artist
Yto Barrada (b. 1971, Paris) grew up between Tangier and Paris, where she studied history and political science at the Sorbonne. She subsequently attended the International Center of Photography in New York. After sixteen years abroad, she returned home to Tangier where she continues to engage her community with ways to explore and maintain their cultural history. She now lives and works in New York and Tangier.
As Deutsche Bank’s Artist of the Year 2011, her solo exhibit, Riffs, traveled the world via a partnership between Deutsche Bank and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. She also exhibited films and photographs, Palm Project and My Family and Other Animals at the 2011 Venice Biennale. Current exhibitions include The Whitechapel Gallery, London and MAC, Marseille. Her work was also included in the 2007 Brave New Worlds exhibition at the Walker.
An Album: Cinematheque Tangier, a project by Yto Barrada is co-curated by Film/Video senior curator Sheryl Mousley and adjunct curator Clara Kim.
Opening Reception: Yto Barrada & DJ / rupture
November 21, 6 pm, FREE
Walker Art Center
Featured artist Yto Barrada and special guest DJ / rupture, referred to as “a thoughtful pipeline for music from countless distant and obscure outposts” (New York Times), for an opening reception for the exhibition filled with the music and movies of North Africa. Cash bar.
Expanding the Frame
February 27, 2014, 6 pm, FREE
The Walker’s annual Expanding the Frame series highlights artists breaking the conventions of filmmaking, and shows how the medium itself is being reframed in the 21st century. This year’s program will feature screenings of films by Yto Barrada in the Walker cinema on February 27, 2014. The six short films are Hand-Me-Downs, The Magician, Playground, The Smuggler, Beau Geste, and The Botanist. The artist will be present to discuss her film work with the audience.
Art School: Film
A program for Walker Art Center members
April 13, 2014, 2–3 pm
$5/session (free for Contributing-level members)
Hear about the vibrant film scene in North Africa and gain appreciation for the unique cinema being produced in this part of the world today. A guided tour of the exhibition An Album: Cinematheque Tangier will be offered following the program. Participants are also invited to take part in Study Hall, a facilitated small group discussion.
Art School demystifies contemporary art by putting it into context—culturally, historically, and personally. Through short, succinct sessions, you’ll come to understand what the fuss is all about—and even feel like a connoisseur yourself. This program for Walker members is copresented by the University of Minnesota Departments of Art and Art History. Registration is required online at members.walkerart.org, by e-mail to email@example.com, or by calling 612.375.7655.
GALLERY HOURS AND ADMISSION
$12 adults; $10 seniors (65+); $8 students (with ID)
Free to Walker members and children ages 18 and under.
Free with a paid event ticket within one week of performance or screening.
Free to all every Thursday evening (5–9 pm) and on the first Saturday of each month (10 am–5 pm).
Enjoy free gallery admission on Thursday nights from 5 to 9 pm.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 11 am–5 pm
Thursday, 11 am–9 pm
An Album: Cinematheque Tangier, a project by Yto Barrada is made possible by generous support from the Bentson Foundation.
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