Carl Andre / Rosa Barba, Turner Contemporary | Visual arts reviews, news & interviews
Carl Andre / Rosa Barba, Turner Contemporary
Two seductive exhibitions show that minimalism can be sensuous and analogue timeless
Like fellow Berlin resident Tacita Dean, Rosa Barba’s work pays homage to defunct celluloid, even though there’s only one film in her exhibition. The huge projector which hums in the background provides the gentle soundtrack to a silent film surveying the Kent and Margate coasts (pictured above: Subconscious Society, 2013 © Rosa Barba). Shabby, disused buildings and broken piers come into view, and a long aerial shot of the ribbed and undulating sand reminds us of the primordial nature of this stretch of land, before the invention of tourism.
But one can see that it’s the film projector, gleaming white in the shadows, that visitors are far more fascinated by than the moving image. Bisected to reveal its workings, the projector has become a lugubrious kinetic sculpture, a burnished object of admiration and wonder. In a second room, arranged like steadfast sentinels, stand a line of anatomised projectors. In jerkily hypnotic procession, loops of transparent film weave through delicate metal hinges. Whatever is on there, the projectors aren’t giving away their secrets.
Nearby, a manual typewriter punches a code on celluloid, and the film grows like knitted yarn, falling to the floor and bunching up in a tangle. Soon you imagine strips of celluloid completely filling the gallery.
But meaning is dodged and obfuscated. We don’t know if the words spilling from the typewriter relate to the words that have been neatly punched out onto two translucent curtains hanging to the left, which resemble pages torn from an outsized book but whose printed words have become negatives (pictured above right: The Personal Experience Behind Its Description, 2009 © Rosa Barba). Words and letters drift over you, provoking a stream of associations but proving elusive. It’s wonderful to see how much Andre and Barba, with two very strong and resonant exhibitions, so beautifully complement each other.
- Carl Andre: Mass & Matter / Rosa Barba: Subject to Constant Change at Turner Contemporary until 6 May
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 7,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more Visual arts
The delightfully shambolic talent show that's become a national treasure
Asia Triennial Manchester showcases the biggest exhibition of contemporary art from south of the Great Wall
Simon Schama campaigns and entertains, but does he explain?
Hardly ever has a heavyweight operated with so light a hand
A staggeringly ambitious and powerful history spanning six centuries and told through objects
Renowned American artist revisits old themes in his biggest sculpture yet
A film and a broken column pay tribute to a young innocent with limited horizons
In his last decade, the Dutch artist suffered hardship, but painted some of his most enduring masterpieces
The man who sneaked politics into abstraction fails to upset any apple carts
'Genius loci': the souls of six buildings caught by six directors, in 3D
Tune in to Korean women who use special sounds to dive deep and trucks that change your radio station
theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top exhibitions