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Kunsthaus Zürich presents 'Time as Perspective'; an exhibition by visual artist Rosa Barba
Rosa Barba, Installation view Kunsthaus Zürich, June 2012. © 2012 ProLitteris, Zurich.

ZURICH.- From 6 June to 9 September 2012, the Kunsthaus Zürich is presenting the first solo exhibition in Switzerland by the young Italian artist Rosa Barba (*1972). At the heart of the presentation is the new film work ‘Time as Perspective’, which is receiving its première in the Kunsthaus.

Born in Agrigento (Sicily), Rosa Barba works with the medium of film in a literal sense, for instance creating sculptures made from 16mm projectors or using film strips as a material. The twin themes of language and time invariably play an important role. Language manifests itself either as subtitles or as a spoken commentary, creating a second layer that overlays and modulates the underlying images. ‘The orchestration of the images with sound and text levels gives rise to new images, but ones we do not see,’ Barba herself explains. She dissects the classic narration of film and instead creates atmospherically dense works that impressively combine analysis and sensuality.

Five works are exhibited in the cabinet of the Kunsthaus Zürich, all of them specially created for the exhibition. At the centre stands the 35mm film ‘Time as Perspective’ which was co-produced with Bergen Kunsthall, Norway. Rosa Barba shot it in Texas earlier this year. As the title ‘Time as Perspective’ suggests, the work once again addresses issues of time and language. And it is no coincidence that the artist has chosen Texas as the location for the shooting: she has long been fascinated by desert landscapes. As Barba explains, ‘The desert is a constantly changing stage that can be used for different settings.’ She approaches the landscape with an almost archaeological eye and, as she puts it, attempts ‘to take the signs left behind as the starting point for a story.’

Rosa Barba’s artistic practice has made her one of the most highly regarded artists of her generation working in film worldwide: Tate Modern (London) has devoted a solo exhibition to her, and in 2009 her work was shown at the Venice Biennale. She received the prestigious Nam June Paik Award in 2010. Rosa Barba’s work is much in demand from museums. Indeed, the current exhibition is the result of a collaboration between the Kunsthaus Zürich, the Bergen Kunsthall (Norway) and the Jeu de Paume (Paris). Inspired by Barba’s method and the title of the exhibition, what emerges is not a touring exhibition in the usual sense of the term but rather a narrative in a number of chapters: after a prologue at the Jeu de Paume in May 2012 the Kunsthaus Zürich is showing a first chapter curated by Mirjam Varadinis which will be followed by a second chapter at the Bergen Kunsthall (2 February – 17 March 2013).

The catalogue will be published by Hatje Cantz when the exhibition series reaches its final destination in Bergen. Prior to this, visitors to the show in Zurich are able to obtain a newspaper (CHF 2 at the shop or the entrance desk). At 6 p.m. on 29 August the Kunsthaus will be organizing a public discussion between Rosa Barba and curator Mirjam Varadinis.

Public guided tours will take place on Thursday 14 June at 6 pm. and Sunday 8 July at 12 midday.

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