‘Boundaries will be pushed to the limit’ in comprehensive multi-film exhibition at Manchester’s Cornerhouse

By Sophia Rahman

In a unique collaboration with the Turner Contemporary art gallery, Manchester’s Cornerhouse will hold its most comprehensive solo presentation to date by celebrated Italian-German artist Rosa Barba – Subject to Constant Change.

The multi-platform film installation will be exhibited in distinct ways, responding to the galleries’ unique architectures, and feature the artist’s work Coro Spezzato: The Future Lasts One Day, originally exhibited at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009.

Sarah Perks, Cornerhouse’s director of programme and engagement, said: “Rosa is one of the most exciting contemporary artists pushing boundaries of film, sculpture and installation, and she is especially interested in working with communities in both Manchester and Margate.”

Barba’s new film to be screened at the exhibition, Subconscious Society, will be shot in an abandoned theatre in Manchester and across landscapes in Kent, using participants from the respective communities who have a ‘special connection’ to the places, or partake in collective activities of ritual or contemplation.

The participants, to be chosen by the galleries’ teams, will collaborate with artists in largely unscripted and improvised scenes to form a loose fictional narrative connecting the protagonists to the places the film passes through.

Barba said: “In my work I don’t observe reality, I am reinterpreting it in a certain direction by making very personal decisions.

“I am trying to invent a utopia by showing political and social mechanisms set against technical mechanisms which are themselves fragile.”

The final product will be ‘an encounter with characters whose identities, pasts and futures are never secure, and of alienating landscapes and architectures’ expanding beyond the screen and into the gallery space.

The artist said this will reveal ‘a kind of magic which stops time and offers a slowed-down view of otherwise hidden aspects of reality’ and offer ‘an alternative reading of the past and also the future’.

In Cornerhouse’s Gallery 3, the exhibition will incorporate multiple 35 and 16mm projections onto a large suspended screen, using the film projectors and the material itself as a physical presence in the space.

The commission will be presented as a theatrical cinema with synchronised elements of different films playing together in one stage, where a continuous film projected from the rear will be punctuated at various points by short scenes from the front.

Subject to Constant Change will be opening at Cornerhouse in 2013, running from January 26 to March 24.

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