Robert Barta

Robert Barta Rohkunstbau 2009

"A few thoughts about things

I am alive. I need things in order to function; I have to get them, if not I take two pills and just become fine, clear again, calm, again; I can always reset myself and restart in order to get lost in the deep mystery of my everyday routine. The cosmos of my existence is filled with things I trust and without which I barely survive. I assemble and attach them to my body and my surrounding. I am helpless without my things, cannot think, speak, move or live. I am about to become a machine working on a field of garbage, depending on a never ending input of things I do not need. I collect knowledge; it helps me constructing the reality I depend on. Reality is a bubble filled with images of empty things. I am a living illusion, a ghost, lost, helpless, and happily blank like a turned off computer screen. Question: Do I need and understand everything I use? What if the things, instruments and institutions that I so unlimitedly trust would change into something else? What happens when knowledge, the religion of today, would free all its imprisoned gods and finally implode?"
Marcus Graf

In his works, Robert Barta plays with meanings. He strips everyday objects of their original function and recontextualises them within a setting of display. In a totally strange environment, the objects produce an involuntarily comic effect, yet one that also allows inferences on the reception of art and exhibition conditions. Since, in terms of form, Barta’s works are hardly distinguishable from mass-produced goods, they are certainly related to Marcel Duchamp’s ready-mades, sharing an artistic strategy strongly informed by irony and exaggeration where art is turned into an art of inversion. Playing with the absurd in this way enables Barta to point to the hidden deficits and frustrations in contemporary society that are, not least, linked to the dissemination of stereotypical opinions and clichés.

For Rohkunstbau, Robert Barta has created a spatial installation simulating a real situation. By exchanging two existing doors, the artist has created a new space – but from behind the closed doors come knocking sounds, as though people are trapped behind them. Was someone locked in some distant corner and forgotten? Will any attempt be made to rescue her or him? Would we then hear stories of the long distant past, of the manor house down the years and its diverse histories under radically different political conditions? Or is it perhaps better to keep our collective alter ego under lock and key?

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2008 The Real Wrong Gallery, New York, USA
2008 World Closed Use Other Side, Gallery Martin Mertens, Berlin, Germany
2007 Robert Barta, Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2007 Everything Good Comes From Beneath, Under Construction, Istanbul, Turkey
2006 Partners in Crime, Raum 500 (with Tomas Svoboda), München, Germany

Selected Group Exhibitions
2008 SCULPT-O-MANIA, Neue Skulptur aus Deutschland, Stadtgalerie Kiel, Germany
2008 Phoenix vs Babel, Fondation Ricard, Paris, France
2008 Inkonstruktion III, ART Biesenthal, Biesenthal, Germany
2007 Gross Domestic Product, GHMP – City Gallery of Prague, Prague, Czech Republic
2007 Art for Fun, Centro de Arte Casal Solleric, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
2006 Rüdiger Schöttle Gallery, München, Germany