Press room

Daria Martin: Tonight the World

 Tonight the World, 2018 © Daria Martin, courtesy Maureen Paley, London

Barbican Art Gallery presents London-based artist and filmmaker Daria Martin’s first solo commission for a major London public gallery, opening on 31 January 2019 in The Curve. The exhibition is part of the Barbican’s 2019 season, Life Rewired, which explores what it means to be human when technology is changing everything.

Combining film and computer gaming technology, Martin creates an atmospheric environment, in which visitors can explore the vivid and unconscious memories of artist Susi Stiassni, Martin’s grandmother, who fled from the Holocaust. Martin draws on an extensive archive of her grandmother’s dream diaries amounting to over 10,000 pages. These forensically recorded accounts were created over a 35 year period, initially for the purposes of psychoanalysis. Stiassni’s dreams frequently return to the curious and traumatic history of her childhood home, a modernist villa, still standing today in the city of Brno located in then Czechoslovakia.

Entering the exhibition, visitors encounter a film created using computer gaming technology which journeys through a rendering of the villa in Brno as it was when Stiassni lived there. A second film, shot with actors, reveals a reimagining of five of Stiassni’s dreams set within the modernist house. Martin envisages that the installation will become simultaneously a portrait of her ancestor, a self-portrait and an exploration of intergenerational trauma, migration, loss, and resilience.

Daria Martin said: “I was intrigued to discover that The Curve was originally designed as a liminal space:  a sound buffer to wrap around the back of the Concert Hall.  My exhibition explores another sort of ‘back room’– a lost dream diary archive.  The installation plays with the dramatic sweep of the grand, semi-circular curved wall – and in particular the way that it enables a cinematic journey of successive ‘reveals’– but also with the space’s more eccentric insides.”  

Daria Martin is an internationally exhibited artist living in London, and Professor of Art at The Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford. Martin’s films aim to create a continuity between disparate media such as painting and performance, between people and objects, and between internal and social worlds.

Martin was born in 1973 in San Francisco. After studying humanities at Yale, she received her Master in Fine Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2000. Solo exhibitions include Maureen Paley, London (2016); One of the Things That Makes Me Doubt, ACCA: Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia (2013); Sensorium Tests, Milton Keynes Gallery, Milton Keynes, UK (2012). Recent group exhibitions include The New Human, Moderna Museet Malmö, Sweden, touring to Moderna  Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (2016); 14th Istanbul Biennial SALTWATER: A Theory of Thought Forms, Istanbul, Turkey (2015); 10th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, China (2014); In the Holocene, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA (2012); Dancing Through Life, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2011). Martin has recently been shortlisted for the 2018 Jarman Award. Martin is represented by Maureen Paley, London.

Supported by Wellcome, Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte and using public funding by Arts Council England. Projections by Christie Digital.