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Marta Barina next to her degree work

CAMBERWELL CAMEO: BA Photography Student Marta Barina

Written by Loula Mercedes
Published date 27 June 2016

Marta Barina sees the making process as a very important part of her practice. This is particularly apparent in the new body of works which was on display at Camberwell Degree Show. Coming from an Architecture and Design course she finished in Italy, Barina has always been keen to use shapes and physical objects to represent abstract meanings and experiences. She defines her works as a “physical designed version of the mind”.

Her recent project “I can hear the grass grow” includes four different works: a real grass wave, a sculpture made of metal and tarpaulin, a star slash hour glass rotating on the wall, and a painting slash photographic composition with sand rushes. The works are visually linked to each other by their monochrome aspects, respectively green, blue, yellow and red.

I can hear the grass grow , work by Marta Barina

I can hear the grass grow , work by Marta Barina

I can hear the grass grow , work by Marta Barina

I can hear the grass grow , work by Marta Barina

Barina recently started to reflect on the Zen philosophy within her practice. Initially intrigued by the idea of “gateless Zen” introduced in the 13th century, she began to explore the infinite possibilities of reaching a place that has no gate while thousand of roads entering it. Like the infinite thoughts that meditation can lead to, from work to work, her extravagant use of materials (including wood, metal, acrylic, paint, sand, organic matter and photographs) led her to discover ever new processes, to explore new ways to “access” her own mind and to puzzle the one of the viewer.

I can hear the grass grow , work by Marta barina

I can hear the grass grow , work by Marta Barina

I can hear the grass grow , work by Marta Barina

I can hear the grass grow , work by Marta Barina

Most of the time the production of her works do not start with the aim to say something, but rather to understand it. While exploring the reasons behind day-to-day experiences “like a skin rash or a tic, the growth of a flower, the affection for a book, or social and intimate behaviours”, over the years her craft skills ranged from making a pinhole camera to welding metal, from growing grass to
modify an electric circuit. The materials as well keep varying, currently covering paint, photography, foam, resin, wood, volcanic sand, metal and acrylic.


Beside working as an artist, Barina investigates her versatile approach also as freelance curator. Her exhibitions and projects for entertainment and educational purposes have been seen both in London and Italy – including: “Open Boxes” event at The Royal Academy, British Museum and the Loading Bay Gallery; “Lines of Enquiry” exhibition for Proxy Act Festival in South London; “Less
Photography, More Photographic” exhibition of London based artists at GalleriaSP3 in Italy and this August she will be curating a group show with emerging European artists for the Slovenian contemporary art festival Fotopub.

Lines of Enquiry curatorial process by Marta Barina

Lines of Enquiry, curatorial project by Marta Barina

Less Photography More Photographic curatorial project by Marta barina

Less Photography More Photographic, curatorial project by Marta Barina

Barina says that she is constantly inspired by different artists or “weird cringe funny or cheesy web and social media contents”. Among her current favourite artists are Bred Troemel and Helen Marten, and curator Paul Barsch.

Recent links:

Marta Barina


Less Photograohy, More Photographic

BA Photography

Summer Show