Western Round Table

Rosa Barba

Agrigento, Italy, 1972
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  • Media description: 
    Two cinema projectors (16 mm), two loopers and two audio films
  • Sound: 
    Optical sound
  • Category: 
    Film, Installation
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Rosa Barba's work, based on the use of film medium, is set in no specific place or time thereby creating, on the one hand, hybrid stories that are somewhere between science-fiction and documentary, and on the other, installations with a strong sculptural character in which elements related to cinema such as the projector, the light beam, and celluloid take centre stage. In Western Round Table (2007) the arrangement of two 16mm projectors placed on the floor, facing each other and projecting clear film that generates a shadow on the opposite wall coupled with a soundtrack, assembled from fragments of two Fellini films, evokes the idea of ??conversation. Something that is corroborated by the work's title, which leads us to its starting point, The Western Round Table on Modern Art held in San Francisco in 1949. The aim of this meeting was to “bring a representation of the best informed opinion of the time to bear on questions about art today” and included speakers such as Marcel Duchamp, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mark Tobey and Gregory Bateson. The answer, not lacking in irony on Barba's part, is expressed by a series of noises and incoherent words included on the soundtrack that contrast with the serious and scholarly tone of the statements made by this group of men when defining the way forward for art. The archival feature inherent in all of Barba's work together with the anachronistic use of photochemical film, that is in danger of disappearing, place her work in the same line as that of artists such as Dorit Margreiter, David Maljkovic and Florian Pumhösl, also represented in the Museo Reina Sofía Collection.

Cristina Cámara Bello