15 September 2010 – 8 January 2011
Tate Modern’s Level 2 Gallery will exhibit Rosa Barba’s filmic installations, which challenge the conventions of cinema and preconceived notions of film. In this exhibition, Barba’s carefully choreographed installation splits attention between the image and projector, posing the question: which is the narrative and which the narrator? The artist’s particular use of light and sound will permeate the exhibition, resulting in a compelling, multi-sensory experience. Level 2 Gallery is Tate Modern’s space for emerging artists, dedicated to experimental ideas, themes and trends in international contemporary art.
Stating the Real Sublime 2009 is one of three sculptural installations that engage with the formal and mechanical possibilities and limitations of the 16mm projector. It consists of a projector suspended solely by the loops of blank celluloid it is playing. In this way, Barba creates a kinetic sculpture composed of three elements: the moving celluloid, the machine itself, and the blank image on the wall. In contrast, a second of these sculptures made for the exhibition presents two projectors bound together by a single piece of film to perform an uncertain role-play of domination and submission.
The dual projector installation Western Round Table 2007 places two projectors opposite each other, each using its beam like a spot light to illuminate the other, casting dramatic shadows on the gallery wall. The work’s title alludes to a little known conference in the Mojave desert at which key figures from the avant garde, including Marcel Duchamp, Frank Lloyd Wright and Buckminster Fuller, met to discuss modernity, its future, legacies and alternatives. Barba’s use of sound is a key component in her installations. A faint soundtrack consisting of two melodies, one bass and one treble, is audible above the chatter of the projectors.
At the centre of the exhibition will be the 35mm film The Long Road 2010, projected onto a large suspended screen that cuts diagonally across the gallery, and will be presented alongside a new 16mm film made for the exhibition. As with many of her single channel films, they each address the relationship between industrial processes and natural environments. As part of her series of Printed Cinema publications, Barba has also created a visual essay to accompany the exhibition. Co-commissioned by Tate and Afterall, different versions will be published as the exhibition leaflet and on Afterall’s website.
Rosa Barba was born in Italy in 1972. She grew up in Germany and now lives and works in Berlin. Barba recently took part in the 2009 Venice Biennale, has created a public space commission for the 2010 Liverpool Biennial and has been nominated for the upcoming Nam June Paik prize, which will be announced in September 2010.
Rosa Barba is curated by Ben Borthwick, former Assistant Curator, Tate Modern, now Director of Artes Mundi. The Level 2 Gallery is conceived and led by Tate Modern’s Assistant Curators, in dialogue with Tanya Barson, Curator. The Level 2 Gallery programme has been made possible with the generous support of Catherine Petitgas.