The cinematic distances of Rosa Barba

In Milan, a brand new 35mm mute kinetic sculpture introduces a solo show, merging astronomical and cinematographic densities.

Rosa Barba, Pensiero Spaziolungo, 2017, Vistamarestudio, Milan, September 2018

More than one year ago, in Milan, Pirelli HangarBicocca presented Rosa Barba’s solo exhibition From Source to Poem to Rhythm to Reader, curated by Roberta Tencon. A project that brought together fourteen works made since 2009, including 35mm and 16mm films, kinetic sculptures, and site-specific interventions.
On September 4, the berlin-based artist, right before opening her first major solo museum project in Canada, at Remai Modern (September 28, 2018), installs Pensiero Spaziolungo, her first solo show at the new-born Vistamarestudio gallery. The space has been inaugurated on March 2018 with a solo exhibition by American artist Tom Friedman. The program focuses on projects specifically conceived by Italian and international artists, beyond a classification of generations, whose purpose is to challenge and at the same time question the viewer.

Pensiero Spaziolungo, the last Barba’s solo show in a private space in Italy, features a newly-commissioned filmic sculpture, in addition to a selection of her recent works, a continuation of the artist’s exploration of filming language as material. Gallery rooms are almost completely dark, while the silence is often interrupted by several different soundtracks.  The exhibition’s title is drawn by a light installation, on the floor, named Pensiero Spaziolungo. The work, as part of a filigree neon tubes series created and presented for the first time in the 16th century garden of Villa Medici in Rome, unfolds a poem verse signifier, shining in its own light. Both the words must be read from the ground level, completing a sort of a light contouring and incorporating, as a special attractor, visual materials from various found sources, set all around.

Rosa Barba, Near the Small Magellanic Cloud, 2018, testo intagliato su feltro, Vistamarestudio, settembre 2018
Rosa Barba, Near the Small Magellanic Cloud, 2018, Cutout text on felt, Vistamarestudio, September 2018

Almost right in front is placed Drawn by Pulse, a 35mm mute kinetic sculpture, shot at the Harvard Astronomical Observatory, encompassing the narrative discovery of Cepheids, the flicker of the stars, observed by the American Astronomer Henrietta S. Leavitt who worked at the Harvard College Observatory as a so-called Harvard human computer. In this work Rosa Barba portraits the stars like a film projector, embodying remotely Henrietta S. Leavitt’s filmmaking gaze. In fact, thanks to her discovery the Universe appears much larger than anyone thought it was before. Consequently by this work, the artist engages once more with her direct researching experience of a chosen landscape and the limits of perception, dealing with pragmatic data such as quantification and calculation of colour and brightness of the stars, thanks also to the mighty Harvard’s telescopes she had access to.

Among performative tracks (Language Infinity Sphere); an handwritten text fragment, exposed on 70mm film ( Footnote (…being able to perceive it…) and an Henrietta S. Leavitt’s manifesto printed on felt (Near the Small Magellanic Cloud) the exhibition’s core is the idea of reproducing an experience of a given reality, through the means of cinematographic depictions and astronomical simulation. In the last room, the solo shows brings its path to an end through a 16mm film, shot in Rotterdam and inspired by the story of the astronomer Kepler. Here a Jan St. Werner’s composition harmonizes visual quotes of surreal, sci-fi and time-altered geographies, inspired by a man imagining how to describe a planet, covering distances he could had never reached.

Exhibition Title:
Rosa Barba. Pensiero Spaziolungo
Opening dates:
September 4 – October 27, 2018
Viale Vittorio Veneto 30, 20124 Milan

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