Yto Barrada: Guide to Trees + Guide to Fossils

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This gorgeous two-volume set collects two artist’s books by French artist Yto Barrada (born 1971), both of which are proposed as mock guides: A Guide to Trees for Governors and Gardeners and A Guide to Fossils for Forgers and Foreigners.

A Guide to Trees for Governors and Gardeners is a satirical guide for urban landscapers on how to prepare cities for the arrival of dignitaries. Accordingly, advice is offered on painting and cleaning; fruits, flowers and weeds; flags and music; traffic islands and palm trees. At first seemingly reasonable, these directives gradually begin to suggest something amiss behind the patriotic Potemkin-esque facades.

A Guide to Fossils for Forgers and Foreigners presents research on Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. The arid terrain between the mountains and the desert is home to a cottage industry of excavating, preparing, forging and selling fossils. Barrada’s research is documented in guidebook format.

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