Barry Chapter 2

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S.R. Now we have a little bit of move in the question. Can you say or can you claim something that is the aim of your practice?

R.B. The ultimate aim of my practice is to make something that is satisfying to me. Basically that's it. But of course that's based on my style and the way I think about things, and the way I approach life and art. Art is a reflection of the way I think about what's important in life. My art has always been about being very intensively involved in the siutation that you are in. I think my work is about that. If I were to say something about my work, I've always tried to think about making art that doesn't look like art, and I guess that's a sort of a 60s or conceptual point of view. Today, if you look at what most young artists are doing, it's a pretty conservative approach to art; if you look at it, okay, this is art and you can really point to the influences that they had, a kind of re-digging into the recent past and pulling out what they think they can use, and may be updating it and making a few changes. That's not at all interesting to me as an artist. As an artist I think one can be a lot more challenged than that. I like to think that this is the way I approach it. Deep down, I really want to try and make something that no one has ever seen been before and will take seriously. I think that in the realm of art that's something you can do – most people don't do it – but I think it's something you can do. In other realms of activity I don't think you can get away with it, but in art you can get away with it. It's all about re-learning how to look at things, because most of what we know we know by looking at something ... from sight. If I can do something along those lines – then I think that's the aim of what I'm trying to do. But ultimately I have to be satisfied by it myself and I try not to fall into a conventional pattern of thinking. I try not to be decorative about it. I think the art I make today is probably a little bit more conservative from the art I did thirty years ago, because there are certain things I'm trying to do which are a little bit different. I was really searching in this exhibition here the early work... there is a feeling of searching by the young guy who is trying to find his way and being very careful to avoid imitating anything around him. ...and open up some new way of thinking.(0:17:16:10) I was basically trying to intrigue myself, to challenge myself and see what happens when I put it out into the public, see what the reaction is. When I put work out into the public, it's not for satisfaction, it's just to see what the reaction is from people. I'm basically satisfied by it, and, surprisingly, I find other people who are satisfied by it occasionally, not everybody, but occasionally some people are.

S.R. Would you say that contemporary artists are aware of what has been done 30 years ago? Because there was one example circling around in my head as you said younger artists are researching history...and things like that. Because two years ago there was a couple doing an exhibition in a Berlin gallery , Mehdi Chouakri... Plamen and Dejanov, they did a show in the time when the gallerist was on holiday; they wrote on the window: »the gallery keeps closed until the gallerist is back from his holiday« or something like that » ...and this is our work« or something like that«. It was just an idea this time, I think you made something like that in the beginning of the 70s in different galleries.

R.B. ... closed gallery pieces; it's out there...

S.R. I know that these artists didn't know anything about your work.

R.B. I'm surprised Paul never told them. I don't know. Some people do and some people don't. I'm really not sure. My sense of the art world today is that it's very consumer-driven, very collector-driven, that there's a lot of money involved; collectors are generally very conservative people, as are most gallerists. So the artists give the collectors what they want obviously and... When a market is driven like that I think that it's going to be difficult to see a lot of innovative thinking and we really don't get it. There's some good art out there. I have problems with young artists, I really do, even young Conceptual artists. It kind of looks like the work of my students when I was teaching twenty years ago. To much of it looks like that and ...

S.R. Do you want to mention some names?

R.B. No, I don't talk about directly in public. Only in the bar at night, when we are talking privately. Artists have enough trouble surviving without having other artists put them down; whether you like their work or not. I leave that to critics. That doesn't mean I can't express my opinions about it, but I'm not going to do it in public or for print, publication.


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