press release

The work of German-Italian Rosa Barba can be read against the background of a expanded notion of sculpture. In addition to issues of composition, the physicality of form and plasticity, time plays a central role. This aspect, combined with her interest in how film articulates space, sets work and viewer in a new relationship that is also mirrored in the content of her films. Each one is a topographical study of the modern unconscious. They are spaces of memory and uncertainty which can be read as a reassuring myth despite the instability of the reality they depict.

Barba’s filmic works alternate between experimental documentary film and fictional narratives and are not clearly fixed in time. They frequently focus on natural landscapes and human interventions in the environment and examine the relationship between historical records, personal anecdotes and filmic depictions.

White Museum is a key work for Barba’s position with regard to an expanded definition of sculpture. In it, the surroundings become part of the installation. One room in the exhibition space is turned into a projection booth from which a film projector throws out a rectangular beam of light. The landscape thus becomes three-dimensional film images, which can be viewed from an empty room that is also part of the museum and the exhibition. The external world becomes an image, an idea. The work has been shown in various site-specific versions since 2010 with a premiere at the Centre international d’art et du paysage de l’île de Vassivière where the surrounding parkland became part of the installation. Thereafter it was shown at venues, which include the Turner Contemporary in Margate in 2012 (projection on to the sea), the Hirsch Observatory in Troy, Upstate New York in 2015 – where the projector was directed at the sky – and most recently at the 32nd São Paulo Biennale which continues till December 2016.

Parallel to her filmic installation work, Barba has been publishing Printed Cinema since 2004. It is an edition series that functions as a kind of secondary literature to her films. Since the publications contain research as well as material she rejected for the film, they are not only visual but also an enduring supplement to the temporary filmic presentations.

Rosa Barba, born in 1972 in Agrigent (Italy), lives and works in Berlin.