Rosa Barba

white museum beam

stating the real sublime

felt drapes

I seem to be obsessed with light these days. So when a friend emailed me this morning and said he had something to feed this obsession, I was more than willing to follow his link. The Tate Modern is showing an exhibition on the work of Rosa Barba, and I'm particularly enamoured with its description:

Rosa Barba's work encompasses film, sculpture, installation and publications. In this exhibition, Barba's carefully choreographed installation divides viewers' attention between the projected image and projector itself, posing questions as to which is the narrative and which the narrator.

I love this. It's almost like saying to the viewer, "you decide." Anything that directs attention back to the viewer and interrogates his/her role in the production of meaning seems to me to be a closer approximation of what art is all about. Perhaps this sounds romantic, but I don't care.

I would love this concept to be taken further. Maybe somebody has already done this, but I keep envisioning a series of light installations in which the viewers are part of the installations by virtue of them being there and casting their own shadows. It seems like such a simple idea, but could yield such complex responses. And the meaning would be continually changing, unfixed.

It's sort of like an extension of what the viewers of art do with what is placed before them, and what they too leave behind. Have you ever roamed around a theatre after a show and collected any leftover tickets people have left? I have to admit, I have. I like the sentiment of collecting the residue of art, however mundane.

Also, the titles of the above pieces are so thought-provoking. The second one for example is called Stating the Real Sublime, and it immediately brought to mind my own conception of the sublime as all-encompassing and borderless, yet what is presented here is a clearly demarcated box of light. Hmmm.

I'm off to the ballet this coming Thursday to see The West Australian Ballet perform The Sleeping Beauty with Marcia Haydée. You can be sure that I'll be sticking around to collect any leftover programmes and tickets, and creating my own mini-exhibition.