Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has invited the visual artist and filmmaker Rosa Barba to select films from the Museum's archive to celebrate the recent conclusion of its digitization efforts. This selection was presented alongside the artist's own work as part of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) between 1 February and February 4 2024. The artist combined the digitized works from the museum's archives with her own installations and performances to guide viewers through a cinematic world traversing different phases of film as art. The programme for this exhibition was created in cooperation with the museum's former curator for modern and contemporary art, Francesco Stocchi.

Barba is well-known for her approach to film as a medium and for its materiality when creating installations, sculptures and publications, with the intent of exploring the ambiguous nature of reality, memories, landscapes and how they interact in constituting differing interpretations of the cinematic narrative. She initiates the exhibition with a showing of The Tenant (2010) by Rivane Neuenschwander and Cao Guimarães, which – through the employment of subtle camera movement – follows the journey of a soap bubble as it floats endlessly through an abandoned house in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

The second phase of the exhibition, titled Drawing Probable Conclusions, features the works of other artists who approach film from different aspects. Barba includes pieces by Fiona Tan, Miguel-Ángel Cárdenas, Anna, Deimantes Narkevicius, and Rivane Neuenschwander, adding to this a few works which she considers the museum should include in its collection, such as Strikes at Time (2011) by Raqs Media Collective, as well as films by Joan Jonas, Jimmy Robert and Wendelien van Oldenbourgh.

As the final phase of the invitation, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen extended Barba the opportunity to present several of her own films and installations. These alternate between exhibition and performance in a choreographic sequence, mixing vocal and musical performances that enliven and augment the top-floor space of the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen overlooking Rotterdam. VOICE ENGINE (2021-2024) and Here, There Where the Echoes Are (2016-2024) are two multidisciplinary works which are characterized by their orchestral scope. In VOICE ENGINE, Barba's experimental approach to film takes on a new dimension, approaching monumentality as it reconceives the relationship between cinema, the body, and the voice. This installation combines analogue projectors and suspended glass panels with choral singing to create a voice-activated cinematic piece. The singers' voices trigger the projectors to display a variety of images onto the screens surrounding them in unpredictable ways, making them the main protagonists in this creative piece.

The artist herself takes to the stage in the next installation, Here, There Where the Echoes Are, creating cinema through sound as she accompanies a virtuosic composition by Chad Taylor on her cello, using the differing frequencies to sculpt the images emanating from the projectors, allowing them to reverberate throughout the exhibition space in a synchronized manner. Barba playfully deconstructs and recombines cinematic elements, assigning to each of them new purposes within the installations' framework and, more broadly, within film itself.

Live performances of the installations were held by the artist during IFFR, and are on display until 3 March 2024. Barba's works have most recently been featured at Museum Frieder Burda and at Esther Schipper, Seoul. More information about this exhibition can be found at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen website.

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