Fondazione Galleria Civica

Rosa Barba

28 May - 28 Aug 2011

Stage Archive
28 May – 28 August, 2011

Rosa Barba’s first solo exhibition at a public gallery in Italy. Rosa Barba (b. 1972 in Agrigento, currently based in Berlin) is one of the best-known female Italian artists of her generation, with a career that spans film, sound, and text-based work. Shortlisted for the 2010 Premio Italia Arte Contemporanea award organized by MAXXI-Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo, Rome and winner of the Nam June Paik Award 2010, she has been featured in solo exhibitions at some of the world’s leading museums, including Tate Modern in London, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf and Kunsthalle Fridericianum Kassel, Kunsthalle Basel, ARGOS in Brussels, Transmission Gallery in Glasgow, Baltic Art Center in Visby and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (both curated by Lynne
Cooke), Centre International D’Art et du Paysage de l’Ile de Vassivière and Center for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv. She has also been featured in prestigious group exhibitions such as the 53rd Venice Biennale and the 2nd Turin Triennale (both curated by Daniel Birnbaum), the most recent Liverpool Biennale, the 1st Thessaloniki Biennale, and Italics: Italian Art between Tradition and Revolution, 1968-2008 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and Palazzo Grassi, Venice (curated by Francesco Bonami).The exhibition that has grown out of the collaboration between these two institutions in Trento is centred on the role of the archive and how it shapes the identity and activity of the contemporary museum. The project got its start through a process of in-depth research at the Historical Archives of MART Rovereto, examining documents and projects from the Futurist period. Taking the form of “abstract sculpture/theater”, the double exhibition presents various Futurist documents, including unproduced screenplays and film treatments by the Futurist artist Fortunato Depero (b. Fondo, 1892 – d. Rovereto, 1960), the originals of which are preserved at MART. In the artist’s reinterpretation, the archive is not only a place of conservation, but the fulcrum of a fluid time frame that blends past, present and future, an engine driving the imagination, a source of new narratives, a stage; hence the title of the show, Stage Archive.As a collaboration between the two museums, the project creates a dialogue between modern research and contemporary experimentation. At both locations, the individual works – some recent, some site specific – will interact with each other, or rather, will be “choreographed” inside each other, together composing a single film and sound installation that resembles a Futurist-inspired ballet mécanique whose individual characters are presented simultaneously on one stage, the exhibition.In keeping with her artistic approach, Rosa Barba has conceived a multimedia “futuristic journey” that includes text, film, sculpture, and sound. The resulting mechanical performance has a slightly anarchic feel, but is also orchestrated like a concert – a band playing together, or a choir united in song. It is a true Futurist archive, composed of a series of timeless individual expressions choreographed like a musical score, in which each work can lift its voice along with the rest. It is a memorial to the Futurist avant-garde that takes shape in the museum, brought to us out of the past, yet charged with a yearning for the future, the aesthetic and experimental quest that marked the beginning of the 20th century.
MART Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto At the Rovereto location of MART – Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, the artist will work with the central space of the museum, weaving a relationship between the archival area on the basement level and the galleries above, through three new projects. This empty space is the vacuum in which they take shape, acquiring the form of installations. The exhibition highlights the presence and identity of the archives as the true nerve centre of the building designed by Mario Botta, and thus of the museum. Moreover, it unfolds along the large staircases that lead into the exhibition areas, in a pronounced vertical ascension that gives the image of stratified levels, which could also be associated with layers of time, history and memory. The entrance to the MART archives has been turned into a stage, the floor in front of it occupied by a large circular sculpture (Stage Archive, 2011, the work which lends its title to the show) that echoes the shape of the large chandelier designed by the architect Adalberto Libera for the seat of the Regional Council of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol in Trento. Inside the sculpture, as if on an old projector, runs a long strip of film that is not printed or projected, and thus produces no image or sound except for its own empty movement within the mechanism. The artist thus evokes the essence of Futurist documents, their utopian potential, their willingness to generate a tomorrow, their nature as a source of ongoing narratives, the indefinite “non-place” and “non-time” in which they are located.The exhibition concludes with the large wall piece Theory in Order to Shed Light (2011), made up of writing on felt that reproduces text and graphic elements from Futurist documents and the screenplays of Fortunato Depero, and with several small signs (No Titles, 2011) by the stairway that fit in with the informational signage on the various floors, suggesting the possibility of a further level, in the more fluid, flexible concept of space and time characteristic of Futurist exploration. Fondazione Galleria Civica – Centro di Ricerca sulla contemporaneità, Trento Parallel to this, at Fondazione Galleria – Centro di Ricerca sulla contemporaneità in Trento, Rosa Barba will transform the ground floor space of the foundation into a similar exhibition path in which the various works – films and a sculptural installation – will interact.The main space at the foundation will house a screening of the first two 35mm films from the series Hidden Conference: about the discontinuous history of things we see and don’t see (2010-2011): the first chapter, filmed in the archives and storage areas of the Neue Nationale Galerie in Berlin, and the world premiere of the second, filmed in the archives of the Capitoline Museums in Rome. Other works round out the exhibition, including several new projects: Private Tableaux (2010), a 16mm film recently shown at Tate Modern in London, is inspired by studies of underground architecture carried out over the years. The grainy 16mm images of Let Me See It (2009) show a nocturnal landscape, an aerial view of an archipelago, in which only gleams of light from houses on the mainland illuminate the scene; two men, one of whom is blind, talk about the objects around them, pausing to examine the figure of the dodecahedron, an element that becomes crucial to the man’s regression, in search of his memories. Invisible Act (2010) is a sculptural installation made up of a projected 16mm image in which a material object evokes an imagined object, one inside the other, in a dialogue of contrasts and combinations. One Way Out (2009) is a 16mm projector in which the film is sucked upwards rather than projected. Alongside Optic Ocean (2011), Time Machine (2007) is based on the dystopian science fiction novella written in 1895 by H.G. Wells, whose protagonist travels into the future and witnesses the extinction of the human race; the scenes that Barba presents are burgundy letters arranged on a white canvas. The exhibition starts off with White Curtain (2011), a new piece that underscores its cinematic nature, opening up the stage: a single sentence is cut vertically into a curtain of white felt, allowing us to glimpse what lies behind.Visitors will receive a guide to the exhibition – part of the Printed Cinema series – that will help them follow the path through the museum’s architecture suggested by the artist.After the exhibition (available in July 2011), the first extended catalogue will be published by Hatje Cantz Verlag GmbH & Co. KG.

Tags: Rosa Barba, Fortunato Depero, Nam June Paik, Projector