Esther Schipper is pleased to present Fixed in Fleeting: Performative Objects and Tape Journals, Rosa Barba's first presentation with the gallery.
In advance of the artist's major solo exhibition at Berlin's Neue Nationalgalerie, entitled Rosa Barba: In a Perpetual Now, opening on August 22, we present four works. In addition, a special boxed edition of the artist's series of publications, Printed Cinema, published by Dancing Foxes Press, New York, will be launched on the occasion of her presentation at the gallery.
Rosa Barba engages with the medium of film through a sculptural perspective. The artist's installations and site-specific interventions analyse the ways film articulates space, placing work and spectator in novel relationships. With great conceptual elegance and a marked attention to the materiality of the medium, Barba examines the history and industry of cinema and its staging vis-à-vis gesture, genre, information and documents.
Fixed in Fleeting foregrounds the artist's sculptural approach to the very medium of film—celluloid—both as material and as repository of knowledge. Thus, the construction of Color Clock (red): Verticals Lean Occasionally Consistently Away from Viewpoints (2012), for example, is reminiscent of the operation of a clock's gear mechanism but within its open housing a red 35mm film strip can be seen moving through a mechanic sets of rollers in a continuous loop. The film strip is imprinted with individual letters, spelling the colour it represents, and suggests a form of text, albeit one which appears to have become obsolete.
Another work employing film stock both as sculptural element and as screen through which light becomes modulated, is the installation Invisible Act (2010). A silver ball balances on a moving strip of celluloid in front of a projector's light beam. Blank film runs through the projector and throws a white rectangle on the wall on which a shadow is cast by the projector's exposed mechanics. The absence of a projected image—except for the outline of the ball's continuous balancing—shifts the focus to its material conditions, creating a performative setting.
Two works from the series 'Liberties' (2020) are a sculptural elaboration of fragmented texts based on American poet Susan Howe's collection The Europe of Trusts. By abstracting Howe's text Liberties to its smallest unit, the letter, and casting these in wax in a cascading wave of text, Barba assembles a new archive of fragmented narrations, rhythms and semantic layers.
An integral part of Barba's presentation is the limited edition boxed set of her Printed Cinema publications. The series, begun in 2004, is published alongside Barba's film projects, creating a kind of secondary literature, sourced from film stills, text, and photographs, including research material and unused filmic fragments. Addressing key tendencies in her work, the issues are intended not as companions to Barba's installations but rather as extended and free-form experiments in word and image that can be encountered alongside cinematic experiences or stand on their own.
Press release courtesy Esther Schipper.