Sculptor and director Rosa Barba on the best way to break away from the studio (it’s about walking a dog)
Italian-German artist Rosa Barba makes soft yet powerful films that bear witness to the creation, documentation and representation of memory.
Sometimes her work is literally made of film: she has sculpted film strips and, in another work, created a sculpture from a projector that spits film on the floor. His work also often incorporates archaic celluloid projection devices as monuments to ancient ways of creating narratives and recordings.
Barba’s “In a Perpetual Now”, which opens on August 22 as part of the long-awaited reopening of Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie after a multi-year renovation, will feature a mix of cinematographic works and sculptural pieces created between 2009 and 2021.
His fierce conceptual approach to cinema will clash with a major exhibition of works by Alexander Calder, both set against the raw metal and glass of the famous Mies van der Rohe building.
We spoke with the artist about why a walk with her dog is the best way to break free from the studio and her favorite recent show in Berlin.
What are the most essential items in your studio?
A punching machine (letters and holes), a typewriter, lead letters, a screen, models, a sofa, a Phillips screwdriver, iMacs, a refrigerator full of film boxes, RAL fans.
What is the studio task on your schedule tomorrow that you are looking forward to the most?
Rehearsal with an eclectic chorus for my vocal engine piece.
What atmosphere do you prefer when you work?
The one that allows things to flow.
Do you listen to music or podcasts, or do you prefer silence? Why?
I like music sometimes to work, silence other times, but podcasts more in bed.
What trait do you admire most in a work of art?
The trait that starts here and opens a new one there.
What trait do you despise the most?
The line that starts here and ends here.
What snack could your studio not function without?
Who are your favorite artists, curators, or other thinkers to follow on social media right now?
I like conversations with them rather than following social media.
When you feel stuck in the studio, what do you do to get out of it?
Walk my dog.
What is the last exhibition that you saw (virtual or not) that marked you?
Leonilson at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin.
If you had to create a moodboard, what would be there right now?
A fog machine.
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