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Western Round Table

  • Date: 
    2007
  • Edition/serial number: 
    1/3
  • Media description: 
    Two cinema projectors (16 mm), two loopers and two audio films
  • Sound: 
    Optical sound
  • Category: 
    Film, Installation
  • Entry date: 
    2009
  • Register number: 
    AD05147

Rosa Barba's work, based on the use of film medium, is set in no specific place or time thereby creating, on the one hand, hybrid stories that are somewhere between science-fiction and documentary, and on the other, installations with a strong sculptural character in which elements related to cinema such as the projector, the light beam, and celluloid take centre stage. In Western Round Table (2007) the arrangement of two 16mm projectors placed on the floor, facing each other and projecting clear film that generates a shadow on the opposite wall coupled with a soundtrack, assembled from fragments of two Fellini films, evokes the idea of ??conversation. Something that is corroborated by the work's title, which leads us to its starting point, The Western Round Table on Modern Art held in San Francisco in 1949. The aim of this meeting was to “bring a representation of the best informed opinion of the time to bear on questions about art today” and included speakers such as Marcel Duchamp, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mark Tobey and Gregory Bateson. The answer, not lacking in irony on Barba's part, is expressed by a series of noises and incoherent words included on the soundtrack that contrast with the serious and scholarly tone of the statements made by this group of men when defining the way forward for art. The archival feature inherent in all of Barba's work together with the anachronistic use of photochemical film, that is in danger of disappearing, place her work in the same line as that of artists such as Dorit Margreiter, David Maljkovic and Florian Pumhösl, also represented in the Museo Reina Sofía Collection.

Cristina Cámara Bello

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Rosa Barba (Agrigento, Italy, 1972) is a Berlin-based visual artist and film-maker who predominantly bases her work on the use of celluloid and filmic devices, in both materiality and concept. Her pieces imply discontinuities, paradoxes and dialectic turns which are born in between the process of image creation and its metaphors. Mediums such as film, sculpture, installation and the written text come together to engender contradiction, the irony in a conceptual universe that transcends reality. Her films are often micro-stories of reality which grow inside a possible fiction; seemingly marginal happenings take on the value of a historical document, more real than major political and economic events. Omitted from official accounts of History, these everyday, fantastical narratives are normalised to explain the time we live in under the formula of post-modernity.

Since her early work in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Barba has incorporated her artistic practice into the settings and architecture which accommodate her pieces in order to trace new narratives. White Museum (Centre International d’Art & du Paysage, Vassivère, 2010), Free Post Mersey Tunnel (Liverpool Biennial, 2010) and her recent installation at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Blind Volumes (Frankfurt, 2016), have all borne witness to her interest in contextualising certain works. In the spring of 2017, the artist will present a site-specific project inside the Palacio de Cristal in the Retiro Park, engaging in dialogue with the idiosyncrasies of this nineteenth-century space.

Rosa Barba’s work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions in institutions that include the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (2016), the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux (2016), the MIT List Visual Arts Center (2015) and MUSAC, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Castilla y León (2013). She has also participated in different editions of the Venice Biennale – numbers 52 (Slovenian Pavilion, 2007), 53 (Pallazzo delle Esposizione, 2009) and 56 (Giardini, 2015) – and the 32nd São Paulo Biennial (2016). Her films have been screened at numerous film festivals, for instance the 54th New York Film Festival (2016), the FACT screening program, the 24th Liverpool Biennial (2016), Basel Parcours Night: The Hidden Conference, film and sound performance (2015) and the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival (2014), among others.

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Rosa Barba Artworks in the collection

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