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Judith Barry's "Voice off", a gift from Dieter and Gertraud Bogner, on view at mumok
Judith Barry, Voice off, 1999. Two channel video installation. Sound, variable dimensions. Edition #4 aus / of 5, 17 min. Gift of Dieter and Gertraud Bogner, 2011 © Judith Barry.

VIENNA.- With Voice off (1999) the mumok is presenting the video installation by the American artist Judith Barry that the married couple and collectors Dieter and Gertraud Bogner gifted to the museum last year.

In 2007, these long-time supporters and friends of the mumok who began their collection at the end of the 1970s, donated its central complex of constructive, structural and conceptual art to the museum. Comprising around four hundred works, including pictures, sculptures, objects and graphic works–from, for example, Marc Adrian, Heinz Gappmayr, Dan Graham, Dora Maurer, Josef Mikl or Heimo Zobernig–along with artist books and archival materials, the house became the recipient of the biggest gift in its history. The mumok is producing a comprehensive publication which will focus on the Bogner gift and it will be presented on 21 September during the “Fifty Years of mumok” celebrations.

Judith Barry: Voice off
Voice off is a double projection which divides the room into two equal parts. Visitors can move from one area to the other through a curtain. A video is projected on each side, though each offers a different experience with the human voice.

On one side of the room, which Judith Barry calls the female (“her”) side, the characters find themselves in a traumatic ambience, in an indeterminate, stage-like room filled with patches of mist. They sing, make telephone calls, soliloquize or entertain themselves. At times the voices and fragments of conversation are superimposed.

On the other, the male (“his”) side, a man in a workroom tries to concentrate but is increasingly disturbed by voices and sounds. Becoming more and more desperate, he tried to understand them and to discover the source of the voices. At a certain point in time the two plots come together in a narrative sense, though only to separate once again. This takes place by destroying the wall as a physical object and also as the vehicle for conveying the imagination.

In her work Judith Barry has been negotiating the interactions between media, architecture, society, individuals and their perceptions since the mid-1980s. Here the questions being asked are linked through perceptual processes, gender issues and film theory. In 2000, the artist was awarded the Austrian Friedrich Kiesler Prize for Architecture and Art for her interdisciplinary work.

Judith Barry, was born in 1954 in Columbus, Ohio, and lives in New York. She studied at the University of California/Berkeley and the New York Institute of Technology. Since her solo show in the Whitney Museum 1982 she has had numerous exhibitions including a participation in the documenta 2012.

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