Most comprehensive solo presentation to date by visual artist Rosa Barba opens at Turner Contemporary

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Most comprehensive solo presentation to date by visual artist Rosa Barba opens at Turner Contemporary
Rosa Barba, Subconscious Society, 2013 film still 35mm© Rosa Barba.

MARGATE.- In a unique collaboration with Cornerhouse, Manchester, Turner Contemporary announced the most comprehensive solo presentation to date by celebrated Italian-German visual artist Rosa Barba, Subject to Constant Change. Both exhibition spaces, during similar time periods, each present a distinct part of a newly commissioned film work, designed to be exhibited in different cinematic and sculptural formats in each of the two galleries. To accompany her exhibition at Turner Contemporary, Rosa Barba has made a selection of Turner works from the Tate collection.

Victoria Pomery, Director of Turner Contemporary, added: ‘We are very excited to be working with Rosa Barba and Cornerhouse on this new commission. The series of little-known, wonderful perspective drawings by JMW Turner perfectly complement Rosa’s new commission.’

Subject to Constant Change explores the wide range of Barba’s works, with its enquiry into the physical characteristics of film including celluloid, light, projector and sound, or the structure of cinematic narrative, and its occasionally improbable people, places or stories.

Central to the exhibition is Subconscious Society, a major new multi-part film installation filmed in Kent and Manchester, depicting a ‘society’ trapped inside a deteriorating interior, where the characters, hidden from the crumbling, abandoned world outside, explore what happens when objects lose their functions and meanings.

Rosa Barba added ‘In my work I don’t observe reality; I am reinterpreting it in a certain direction by making very personal decisions. I don’t pose critical questions; I am trying to invent a utopia by showing political and social mechanisms set against technical mechanisms which are themselves fragile. The paradox which results from such a tension is used to posit a utopian solution to the problem, a kind of magic which stops time and offers a slowed-down view of otherwise hidden aspects of reality. It offers an alternative reading of the past and also the future.’

In keeping with the material’s shifting points of view and fragmented voices, this extraordinary new multi-platform film installation is exhibited in distinct ways, responding to the galleries’ unique architectures. At Turner Contemporary, Subconscious Society appears in a dispersed, exploded form, manifesting itself in a series of interrelated filmic sculptures installed throughout the gallery space. In addition, the show exhibits a number of Barba’s recent film sculptures, including Boundaries of Consumption, 2012, which take apart the film apparatus, exploring the character of celluloid, light, and text.

At Cornerhouse, the commission is presented as a theatrical cinema with synchronized elements of different films playing together in one stage. Gallery 3 incorporates multiple 35 and 16mm projections onto a large, suspended screen, using the film projectors and the material itself as a physical presence in the space. A continuous film projected from the rear is at various points punctuated by short scenes from the front. The exhibition also features Barba’s work Coro Spezzato: The Future Lasts One Day, originally exhibited at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009.

Sarah Perks, Director of Programme & Engagement at Cornerhouse, said: ‘Cornerhouse is delighted to be collaborating with Turner Contemporary and producing both a new commission with Rosa Barba and an innovation exhibition across both sites. Rosa is one of the most exciting contemporary artists pushing boundaries of film, sculpture and installation and especially interested in working with communities in both Manchester and Margate.’

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