Modernism, an alternative vision

In her work, Yto Barrada often refers associatively to international modernism in an attempt to destabilize a western interpretation of art and to examine the local issues of globalization.

In the After Stella series, she references a specific moment in the history of abstract painting: the colour field paintings produced by the American artist Frank Stella in the mid-1960s. Stella drew inspiration from his travels in Morocco and titled paintings after Moroccan cities.

Alongside Stella, Barrada also invokes Mohamed Chebaa, Farid Belkahia, and Mohammed Melehi, painters affiliated with the Casablanca School in the 1960s who pioneered North African modernism in their abstract paintings. 

In Bad Color Combos, Yto Barrada continues to explore cultural phenomena, personal histories and natural processes. In recent years, Yto Barrada has developed new works around themes such as the acceleration and deceleration of time, motherhood, the history of education, play, the artisanry of natural dyes and colour as material, traditions of modernism and our futile attempts to control nature.