Scuff Marks fig. 1, Tangier
Archival pigment print on semi-gloss paper
25.4 cm x 25.4 cm
Edition of 35 copies numbered and signed by the artist, plus 5 Artist’s Proofs and 3 Publisher’s Proofs
Related edition: Scuff Marks fig. 1, Tangier (2022) / Marble tile
The title and the subject of this edition refer to a series of marks found by Yto Barrada in the kasbah, the old city of Tangier, Morocco. In celebration of loitering in public spaces, Barrada documented the vertical footprints left when people spend time in the shade of a building, with their back and one foot leaning against the wall. Scuff Marks fig. 1, Tangier (2021) is part of a long-term photographic investigation that the artist led in Tangier. Through her films and photographs, she has especially insisted on scars, debris, shades, voids, and abandoned places, all things that constitute the identity of a city just as much as its emblematic buildings and monuments.
This notion of imprint also hints at photography itself, whose “indexical” nature was an important idea in the documentary tradition to which Barrada belongs, in her own peculiar way. But if this picture could be seen as a pure form of realism—a truly ground-level version of “street photography” that focuses on the most mundane things, namely accidental stains—it also clearly refers to the language of abstraction and has an opaque beauty.
Finally, this fragment of a wall in Tangier was originally presented at Keijiban, on an ordinary street of Kanazawa where such a custom would be quite unusual. Here, Barrada applies her strategy of displacement, touching upon social and cultural issues through indirect, poetical ways, straddling abstraction and representation. This is even more obvious in the marble-tile edition, in which the scuff mark (first printed by a shoe on a wall) not only moves from one country to another, but also transfers the image – yet again – from one medium and surface to another.
Yto Barrada's exhibition took place at Keijiban from December 15, 2022 to January 31, 2023