Robert Barry - SOMETHING - Beech tree
This multiple is composed of a set of nine wooden letters forming the word: SOMETHING.
Beech tree set.
SOMETHING marks Robert Barry’s return to his approach from the 1980s, when his work required a form of active subjectivity from the viewer. Today considered as one of the inventors of conceptual art (alongside Lawrence Weiner and On Kawara), the artist works with words but rejects all visual protocol in the aim of highlighting their conceptual and semantic properties. SOMETHING consists of 9 wooden letters of three different wood essences (oak tree, beech tree and sycamore) that collectors are invited to activate in a chosen space. Yet instead of rewriting the same word, Robert Barry enables buyers to compose whatever word they want in the language of their choice. Because they are preciously cut out, the letters create a visual statement in contrast with the surrounding space, all the while asserting the power of contemporary language as a way to disrupt reality.
Beech tree set.
- Height: 12 cm (each letter)
- Edition of 8 + 5 artist’s and publisher's proofs
- Cut-out beech tree wood
- Publication date
An American artist born in 1936, Robert Barry became one of the most radical representatives of conceptual art in the sixties. During the seventies, his artwork became almost exclusively text-based. He projected words onto walls, in a series of slides presenting isolated phrases or enunciations with ambiguous meanings. Since then, his use of words has become more sweeping, with the reintroduction of pictorial principles he used when a student at Hunter College in New York. His monochromatic backgrounds open an infinite space in which the words float freely in an attempt, a successful one, to reinterpret, using different methods, the modernist principles of Soviet suprematism.
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