The programme Free Unions is structured around a series of events, surveys and activations in the rooms of Communicating Vessels. Collection 1881–2021, the new rehang of the Museo Reina Sofía Collection. This particular edition activates Room 103.11 devoted to artist Rosa Barba and her work Bending to Earth (2015), a 35mm film installation which explores nuclear waste and the way in which it radically transforms the landscape, setting out to reflect on the footprint of progress and human action impressed upon the land in these contemporary times of environmental disaster. The encounter continues with a conversation with the artist and concludes with the live presentation of Barba’s new work Wirepiece (2022), a machined concert played with a drum string, a strip of film and a modified 16mm projector.
Both works explore the machine dimension of filmic devices, understanding cinema not just as an image, but as a complex assemblage of sculpture, experience and time. Rosa Barba’s work sits between sci-fi film tradition, documentary and, in extending beyond the screen and occupying exhibition space, expanded cinema, also called exhibition cinema.
Rosa Barba (Agrigento, Italy, 1972) is a visual artist and film-maker. Her work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions in institutions that include the Cukrarna Gallery, Ljubljana (2021), Galería Parra & Romero, Madrid (2020), Void Contemporary Art Centre, Derry, Northern Ireland (2018), Pirelli HangarBiccoca, Milan (2017), Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2016), CAPC Musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux (2016), MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2015), Kunsthaus Zürich (2012), and the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León – MUSAC (2013). She has also exhibited in collective shows, for instance at the 32nd São Paulo Biennial in Brazil (2016), the 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014), the 8th Berlin Biennale (2014), and the 52nd, 53rd and 56th editions of the Venice Biennale (2017, 2009 and 2015). Barba’s films have been screened at different film festivals and within film programmes such as the 54th New York Film Festival (2016), FACT for Liverpool Biennial (2016), the Art Basel Parcours Night (2015) and the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival – CPH: DOX (2014), among others. Her work also belongs to major public and private collections.