The artist Virginie Barre has made a name for herself in Europe with her installations, drawings and sculptures that conjure up an ambiguous universe at once accessible and familiar, while at the same time press-ganging the spectator into embarking on a journey into the unknown. Indeed, Virginie Barré is a master of the kind of barefaced incongruity that imposes unquestionable logic in our dreams, and that we are at a loss to explain on waking, even though we may remain convinced of its reason. The artist uses this facility as an effective tool to soften her public to some of the more impenetrable truths that attract her, like those of adolescent fantasy or the science fictional adventures hidden in the outer reaches of youth culture.
In her newest work, Virginie Barré has focused on what at first seems an unlikely marriage- that of the rich cultural capital of North American Indians, in fusion with the very particular esthetic of the 1920’s Bauhaus. In the world of Virginie Barré, the inscrutability that radiates respectively from these contrasting currents makes them the happiest of bedfellows. The ancient truths and radical rationalism of Native American existence are readily embraced in the corridors of power of the Bauhaus, while the tribal elders of numerous native nations instantly recognize the spiritual dimension of Bauhaus design. As expressed by the French critic, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, discussing Virginie Barré’s recent work: A whole array of Sioux, Apache and Cheyenne warriors peacefully invade the monuments of modernity. The architecture of Walter Gropius, costumes and masks of Oscar Schlemmer, and the furniture and objects of Marcel Breuer are tribalized, ritualized and carried like trophies according to an ethnological turnaround that has less to do with visual antagonism than with a redistribution of the powers of reason.
In at Parker’s Box, Virginie Barré organizes her mannequins and drawings into what is ultimately an homage to schools of thought and life beyond her direct personal experience. Reveling as always in an inspired and authentic practice of wonderment, Virginie Barré offers the freshest fruits of these labors to an equally unknown New York public.