In the exhibition The Power of Two Suns, Yto Barrada joins her own work with artist Bettina to comment on the apathy and insularity of the world to environmental disasters. Inspired the condition Tangier Island whose shores have been visibly shrinking due to rising sea levels, Barrada ruminates on the desire of the islanders to build a wall to stave off the impending floods.
Image Curtesy of Patrick McMullen for LMCC
A large structure built of crab cages filled with charcoal stands tall in an open clearing in the room; one of the few areas of the gallery not obscured by walls. But the sculpture itself acts as an obstacle. The cages, filled with coal, obstruct any attempt to see through the wall, and even the empty cages create a grid thick enough to only barely be able to see through. This work, along with the walls separating the rest of the works speaks on a desire to save oneself through quarantine.
Barrada’s decision to include Bettina in her exhibition space came from Bettina having famously lost a substantial chunk of her work to a fire. The artist relied on isolation and reclusion to rebuild her collection. She kept to herself and became famous for her reclusive behavior as she rebuilt her portfolio. The strict lines, and opposing colors of Bettina’s works, even the spacing of her sculptural pieces invoke this lonesome feeling; nothing touching, nothing blending.
The exhibition asks visitors to question what is more effective against disaster, whether it be a personal disaster like a fire or a humanitarian disaster like climate change, isolation or hospitality?