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 10,000 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
An affectionate but not entirely satisfactory portrait of the artist
From politicians to polar bears, unexpected insights behind the scenes
A recent body of work tells of the painter's craft and the stormy Suffolk coast
A powerful exhibition that takes the long view on the aftermath of war
The writer was profoundly influenced by art and in turn influenced artists
Randall Wright's documentary reveals the sadness in Bradford's iconic blond
A Russian artist who casts an affectionate eye over people going about their business
On the men and women who spent their lives researching sex
Entertaining but two-dimensional, Alan Yentob's account glosses over the artist's flaws
One was driven by a sense of social injustice, the other by a fascination with stories that hint at psychological disturbance
Affectionate family portraits, subtle references to the history of art, and a worthy winner
A brilliant painter derailed by an unfortunate obsession