Stating the Real Sublime

Rosa Barba

Rosa Barba, Stating the Real Sublime

16 mm film, modified projector suspended from the ceiling with a loop of film, 2:30 min loop

Germany 2009


All images: Installation view at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge MA, USA, 2015

Photo: Peter Harris © Rosa Barba


Stating the Real Sublime consists of a 16-mm film projector suspended from the ceiling. Clear leader runs through it to cast a bright rectangle of light onto the opposite wall, before threading through a series of rolls mounted above and feeding back into the device. Because the projection registers the scratches and dust accumulating on the leader, Nam June Paik’s 1965 Zen for Film, consisting of light projected through clear leader, becomes an evident point of reference. But Barba’s objective, unlike Paik’s, was not to capture the traces of time. The leader of her hanging sculpture is replaced regularly throughout the run of an exhibition, so ultimately Stating the Real Sublime is about a single, repeated moment, a singular gesture that is locked in a kind of perpetual present” (Huldisch 2016: 49).


Rosa Barba, born in 1972 in Agrigento, Italy, lives and works in Berlin, Germany.


Henriette Huldisch, “Dark Matter and Deep Time: Rosa Barba’s Uncertain Landscapes,” in Rosa Barba: The Color Out of Space. In conjunction with the exhibition The Color Out of Space at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, October 23, 2015 – January 3, 2016. Curator: Henriette Huldisch (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT List Visual Arts Center, 2016), pp. 41–68.

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