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
theartsdesk is changing
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. In September we reached our fourth birthday and feel that the time is now right, in line with other media outlets, to start asking our regular readers for a contribution to help us develop the site further. Theartsdesk has therefore moved to a partial subscription model. 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.
Take an annual subscription now simply click here.
more Visual arts
Prints that show off the French artist's extraordinary range and skill, wit and playfulness
theartsdesk's Jillian Edelstein recalls being sent to snap the South African president
The paintings are wonderful, but the curator does a huge disservice to this forgotten artist
This year, it was two women who made the most enduring impression
A poet and artist talks to Annie Freud and Bobby Parker about the art of the word
The Chapman brothers hijack our affections by being brilliant and funny
Bold new gallery continues grand project to spread contemporary art throughout France
You want to know what the future of music looks like? Read on
A retrospective of the Russian suprematist may be bound for Tate Modern, but the Stedelijk is the place to catch it
Sober choral concert from The Sixteen and a vivacious centenary photographic exhibition
This year's shortlist highlights the often uneasy relationship between photographer and subject
To mark the 50th anniversary, we count the cultural responses to Kennedy's assassination