Robert Barry “untitled”

Tanja Grunert Gallery

poster for Robert Barry “untitled”

This event has ended.

Gasser Grunert3 presents untitled, 2013, a new wall installation by Robert Barry. Approximately twenty glossy white vinyl words—12 inches tall—such as “ALMOST”, “BELIEVE”, “ABSURD”, “UNKNOWN”, “PURPOSE”, “WAITING”, float as ghostly intrusions against the white walls of the gallery’e windowed cube space. These barely visible words are placed at various angles, overlapping, sometimes even upside down or cut-off. Exploring their relation to each other as well as to viewers, Barry seeks to explore these words’ rapport to space and time though composition; the time it takes to see and read them, to allow the viewer to emotionally react, to memorize them against each other and in their location. This fleeting dialogue brings together a wonderful harmony of the physical and conceptual, which truly allows one to reflect upon his or her presence in the world.

In both his old works and untitled, there is an esthetic to the typeface, size, colour and composition of the words created by the artist. By physically presenting decontextualized language in a simplistic and ordinary manner, he draws our attention to the unknown, rather than the obvious physicality of the visual limits of art. Barry has described his works as “all the things I know but of which I am not at the moment thinking” or “something which is very near in place and time but not yet known to me.” Although most often compared to other fathers of conceptual art such as Lawrence Weiner or Joseph Kosuth, Barry’s style can also run parallel to that of English artist Rachel Whiteread’s.

Like Whiteread, who focuses on negative space in her works, Barry’s escape from the known physical has consequently led to a variety of ways in which he has been able to define the usually unseen space around objects, rather than producing the objects themselves. “The piece in its entirety is unknowable because it exists in the mind of so many people. Each person can really know that part which is in his own mind,” Barry has once said of his works. Indeed, his disorienting display of words transcend time and logic; it interacts with each individual viewer, allowing us to engage with it in ways beyond the purely visual. The power of language and communication is not a finalized abstract concept, according to the artist, and Barry really draws on this philosophy to highlight the ephemerality of the experience.

Barry has been selected for several seminal exhibitions of conceptual art: Op Losse Schroeven, Amsterdam (1969); When Altitude Becomes Form, Bern (1969); Konzeption—Conception, Leverkusen (1969), and Prospect 69, Dusseldorf (1969). His works have been exhibited in renowned international events such as the Paris Biennale (1971), Documenta, Kassel (1972), and the Venice Biennale (1972).

Solo exhibitions have been held in Europe and the United States in institutions and galleries such as Stedelijik Museum, Amsterdam; Gemeentemuseum, The Hague; Kunsthalle Nuernberg; Kunsthause Aarau, Art and Project, Amsterdam; Leo Castelli, New York; Yvon Lambert, Paris; Ugo Ferranti, Rome.

Barry is included in the permanent collections of the world’s most visionary museums and foundations, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Musée d’Orsay, Paris; Musée National D’Art Moderne, Centre George Pompidou, Paris; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Barry currently lives and works in Teaneck, New Jersey.



from May 08, 2013 to June 01, 2013

Opening Reception on 2013-05-08 from 18:00 to 20:00


Robert Barry

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