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Robert Barta, Breathing Under the Water

Cueto Project
551 West 21st Street, 212-299-2221
February 21 - March 22, 2008
Reception: Thursday, February 21, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

“The observer becomes the original initiator of my works and without a witness or a user, my work would be like a camera without release” Robert Barta

Cueto Project is pleased to present the work of the Czech born – Berlin based artist Robert Barta. This is his first solo show in the US and with the gallery. This exhibition will feature his recent installations and objects, two of which were directly conceived as a result of his New York experience, and which test the geographic limits of representing personal identity.

Barta does not consider himself an inventor, as he does not work in the creation of new objects from scratch; rather, his interests lie in the exploration of new or inverted functional possibilities. He draws his inspiration from everyday life and the analysis of his immediate surroundings. His process then involves the excerption of a part of his surroundings, its disassembly, and often its reassembly in a new and striking fashion. His objective is to give/offer/create an alternate use to objects already in existence, to further developments of ideas which were once revolutionary but which in his view are today outdated, senseless and dull. For Barta, the strangeness of reality is the platform upon which he constructs his works in order to reveal the absurdness of modern life. For the artist, the so-called “normal” or “ordinary” does not exist and nothing is absolutely given: “an invention is never something definite and should therefore be seen as an inspiration and not as something totalitarian” (Robert Barta).

This exhibition, entitled Breathing Under the Water, raises many questions: What if the things, instruments and institutions that one trusts so unconditionally were to change into something else? What would happen if knowledge, the religion of today, would become free all its imprisoned gods and finally implode? Like a candle burning, burning infinitely yet lacking the apparent natural consumption of wax as in “Dauerbrenner” (2006), every one of Barta’s pieces challenges the beholder’s perception, provoking his doubt, and asking of him whether what he sees is in fact how he sees it.
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