Before History catalogues the exhibition for the Abraaj Group Art Prize 2015, which includes a new body of work by Yto Barrada, the winner of the prize, and existing work by shortlisted artists Sarnath Banerjee, Setareh Shahbazi, and Mounira Al Solh. The exhibition explores the layering of time through historical artifice. History here is considered as a constructed sphere, constantly in flux, simultaneously being buried and excavated.
In a world of hyper-mediation, how can one construct a sense of an individual history? How does it relate to the sediments of culture? A film at the heart of Yto Barrada's new work, Faux départ (False Start) (2015), questions the veracity of artifacts in the context of modern-day museology. Through a study of paleontology in Morocco, the artist asks: How does one fabricate a history?
This special catalogue consists of two artist books, one by Yto Barrada and the other devised in collaboration with the shortlisted artists. Together they function as a sculptural object, layering on top of each other.
Copublished with the Abraaj Group
Mirene Arsanios, Yto Barrada, Sarnath Banerjee, Omar Kholeif, Setareh Shahbazi, Mounira Al Solh