Exhibition September 5 - October 31
Opening reception: 5 SEPTEMBER 2013 AT 6PM
Greta Meert Gallery presents the eighth solo exhibition by Robert Barry (1936, New York).
Robert Barry is a member of the first generation of conceptual artists. In the early 1960s these artists
fundamentally changed the art practice and theory, by championing the meaning of language, concept,
viewer and materiality for the structure, presentation and production of a work of art against its merely
material and visual constitution.
Robert Barry's early work in the late 1960s constituted a major contribution to this line of thinking.
Installations made of materials such as nylon and iron wire, gas and sound waves, consisted of real,
physical constituents, but did without a visual, formal aspect. The presence of a linguistic component (in
this case in the title that is more significant than the visual part) and the attention to the context in which
the work is conceived, have been constant in his entire oeuvre since then.
Since the 1970s language has played an increasingly prominent part in Robert Barry's work. Whereas
numerous language-based works are purely analytical, his work possesses a more balanced relationship
between image and language, by treating words as a visual medium in their own right.
In this exhibition Robert Barry presents two installations and recent works on paper and canvas. The
monochrome window installation fills the space with words. The blue, translucid letters can be perceived
either in reading or in reversed direction, whether they are positioned on the interior or exterior side of the
window. Through the composition of the words, and the processing of the letter surfaces, the works interact
with the architecture and surrounding space, which is clearly understood in a broader sense than the mere
'IRONIC ILLUSION ENIGMATIC SIGNIFICANT BELIEVABLE COMPLICATED THRILLING PROVOCATIVE AGONIZING SEDUCTIVE
CHANGING HERE CAUTION GLORIOUS ANYTHING ALMOST GOING ARTIFICIAL TRANSITORY ENCOUNTER'
The words on the wall are brilliant and in function of the incidence of light, they turn more visible. Again, the
visitor is invited to travel through the space in order to discover the work in its entirety.
'WAITING INTIMATE BEYOND UNEXPECTED TRANSCEND ABSURD ALONE PURPOSE CRUCIAL CONFUSING MORAL
FRIGHTENING PREPOSTEROUS MAGNIFICENT EPHEMERAL EMOTIONAL REALITY UNCONVINCED VAGUE MEANING'
The complex space concept that characterizes Barry's oeuvre also comprises a mental dimension. The
inclusion of single words is a process of free association in which an 'image' inevitably forms inside the
viewer's head, like an extension of the physical piece of art. The compositions on canvas, in pastel colours,
appear to make this process visual, as words fade and overlap.
Solo exhibitions of his work were organised by Stedelijik Museum, Amsterdam; Musée dʼOrsay,
Kunsthalle Nurnberg; Le Consortium, Dijon and Neues Museum, Weimar. His work is held by prestigious
collections such as The Museum of Modern Art, NY; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY; Musée
dʼOrsay, Paris; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Musée National DʼArt Moderne, Centre George
Pompidou, Paris; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the National Gallery of Art,