Tuesday, February 21, 2012


It was the end of May 2009.
Berlusconi, as everybody knows the Italian Prime Minister at that time, was struggling on many fronts.
Several unauthorised photos that depicted him and his numerous guests at Villa Certosa in Sardinia were circulating through the main media’s platforms and the Majesty was obviously trying hard to put in to troubles the poor photographer guilty of this miserable assault.
Veronica, Berlusconi’s last wife, publicly declared she wanted the divorce, writing a long letter on probably the most sold Italian daily newspaper.
Even Milan’s football followers let him down writing polemical banners at San Siro stadium, accusing Berlusconi not to support the team with the necessary economic facilitations anymore.
In the mean time Rome was the scenario of an extreme weird weather, I mean, weird for Italy’s standards, where usually nothing like monsoon rains or particularly extravagant weather conditions take place.
I was living in Rome at that time. I was sharing an old small but really cute flat with one of by best mate. Just graduated, I was basically spending my time waiting for a good job (that never came).
The apartment was on the 4th floor. 
Anna Barribal's window

Buildings in Rome are not just ancient symbols of a glorious past but also ruins left without any preoccupation of renovation. This could be a strategic and principles founded choice in terms of archaeological sites, but when it comes to people’s everyday life, even the legendary roman laziness should take into consideration the safety's importance.
It was early afternoon. I went back home after uni, where I still used to go to talk to one of my teachers.
My friend wasn’t in Rome for some weeks and I was staying in the flat by my self. I decided it was the right time to tidy it up. I can be very messy, especially if I’m alone and there’s nobody else’s space that need to be respected.
I washed the floor and opened the bedroom’s window to let it dry faster. It was nearly summer outside, the sun would come up everyday and warm up the city very quickly. I love Rome during that time of the year, it’s the perfect period to live in it. During the day you don’t suffer too much the heat and at night it’s nice to hang around until late and join people who are exactly in your same mood for the summer to come.
I would never ever expected a tropical storm.
Barribal's ink on found photo
Suddenly the sky got darker and darked and a strong destructive wind started smashing things inside out the flat. I tried to go promptly to the room in order to close the window but it was too late. Its four glasses smashed one on the other and most of the pieces fell outside on the building’s entrance where in a couple of seconds a dad and his daughter will have appeared to go out on the street.
That’s why I have a window issue, let’s call it like this.
Nobody got hurt or injured but my poor mind, which every now and then can help but going back to that moment when potentially something extremely bad could have happened.
The other day I stopped at the Fruitmarket Gallery and after few years from when all happened and miles away from Rome, that afternoon’s thought came into my mind strongly again in front of Anna Barribal’s work.
This London girl loves the liminal. Her choices go from windows, doors, shutters to even fireplace or cuts in the paper. All apertures that signifies a possible state of transition.
Barribal's fireplace

Her artist gesture is very simple, non pretentious even when she works on big scales. Barribal’s simplicity corresponds to what I think it’s a methodical decision of shaping materiality. She intervenes on her objects and surfaces with a delicate touch that, far from being uncertain or not very visible, give uniqueness to the work. Take for example the wall where she drew little spots on with a pencil. Their subtle silverness creates a kind of sculptural aura.
I really enjoyed her windows. I guess my previous disturbing experience with them made me enjoy her work even more. I familiarised with it, I felt it close to my reality outside the gallery.
When she cuts the paper to shape an innocuous knife, I thinks about Fontana and his spatial concepts, I thinks about me cutting bottle's plastic boxes.
Barribal’s art can be lyrical and solidly attached to materiality at the same time. It can make wonder about different worlds and pasts or follow no more than the kinetic noise of a paper “breathing” air on the fireplace.
The ink she uses for intervening on her found photographs well symbolises the interaction of different aesthetic levels involved in her art.
A very enjoyable and inspiring exhibition.

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