Rosa Barba: spaces for species (and pieces)

 SOMNIUM, 2011. Digitalisierter 16-mm-Film © Rosa Barba

SOMNIUM, 2011. digitized 16 mm film © Rosa Barba

Rosa Barba is one of the most respected film artists of her generation, worldwide. Her work has received numerous awards and featured in countless solo and group exhibitions, both nationally and internationally, including the 53rd and 56th Venice Biennale (2009, 2015). Spaces for species (and pieces) is Barba’s first solo show at a German museum.


Alongside narrative film work, the focus of the Dresden exhibition will also feature her filmic sculptures and installations from the past five years. Owing to Barba’s spatially extensive compositions that comprise shapes, surfaces, light and sound (as well as those created by the projectors themselves), the combined works generate a multi-sensory impact. Geological, historical and sociopolitical phenomena are frequently the starting points of her processual research, flowing into the films she invariably shoots and edits herself. Accompanied by her own text passages and musical compositions (in cooperation with Jan St. Werner), the pieces evolve into a documentary-like, albeit subjectively-told filmic work with epic qualities.


They are speculations on the nature of documents, not simply as complete, found products but as contemplations of the present day. And yet, beyond merely translating them into art, or film, Rosa Barba is interested in the continual transposing of material to image, and image to material. Content hence becomes form, and form content.


Altogether, five of her film works will be shown in Dresden. The three-part film installation The Hidden Conference (2011, 2012 and 2015) features hand-held camera shots of repositories belonging to great European museums (Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin, Capitoline Museums Rome, Tate London) and furthermore establishes additional content-related references to the display repositories of the Albertinum’s antiquities and sculpture collections. The basic elements of cinema, such as celluloid, light, projectors and sound are repeatedly represented in the film installations. Also, Time as Perspective (2012), which was filmed in the deserts of Texas and shows the mechanical movements of oilfield pumps, will be shown as an installation. Each of the individual film works engage with one another visually and acoustically, overlapping and serving as “one great orchestration” (Rosa Barba), thereby making the Gesamtkunstwerk of the exhibition physically tangible.


Rosa Barba, born 1972 in Agrigento, Italy, lives in Berlin. She studied Film and Theatre at the University of Erlangen-Nuremburg and Fine Arts and Film at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, followed by a two-year residency at Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam.


The exhibition spaces for species (and pieces)  is on show until 28 February 2016 in Albertinum, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.