Anna Barriball

24 Mar - 7 May 2004 Soho Square

Anna Barriball’s work hinges on minimal interactions with objects and often steps between the parallel languages of drawing and sculpture.

Many of the pieces in this exhibition take the form of found objects, which the artist has subjected to sometimes subtle, sometimes not-so-subtle transformations.


Much of Barriball’s practice explores and depicts the accretion of time – from the length of time it takes for a candle to burn down, to the repetitive activity of taking graphite rubbings from objects that bare the traces of their use or function. Everyday items acquire new and startling properties – a map of the world is transformed into a strange expanse of shimmering substance, or the bounce of a rubber ball on a piece of paper creates the effect of a cosmic explosion. Her interventions produce objects that combine a minimalistic rigour and the seemingly endless endeavour to make sense of the world of objects by empirical study.


All the works in this exhibition possess an elegant and somehow universal resonance, which is tinged at times with articulate absurdism. Their elementary joy can be produced by the most straightforward acts – reversing the colour schemes on identical objects or colouring-in the surface of an ordinary plastic bag. Barriball also leaves space for the unexpected within the making of her work, variation evolves through repeated actions – each time her material behaves slightly differently and the definitive drawing always remains slightly out of reach. Intensely laboured pieces are played off against those created quickly by a relatively hands-off approach, so allowing each work to operate on its own discrete and individual level.