Imagination, dead imagine, by Judith Barry, 1991

Judith Barry Imagination, dead imagine, 1991

Medium: 5-channel video installation with mirror, wood, and rear-projection screen, color, sound
Dimensions: 120 x 120 x 120 in. (304.8 x 304.8 x 304.8 cm)
Credit Line: Courtesy of the artist; Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Los Angeles; and Galerie Karin Sachs, Munich. Installation view at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; photography by Brian Forrest

Imagination, dead imagine's construction as a cube is a reference to one of minimalism's most recognizable forms. In place of minimalism's ostensibly cerebral tidiness, however, Barry foregrounds the pointedly abject: several times throughout the video, viscous materials—reminiscent of blood, urine, and other bodily fluids—are poured from above onto a series of human heads, drenching and coating them. Borrowing its title from a story by Samuel Beckett about a couple trapped together in a room, Barry's work evokes a similar suffocation.


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citation for this page
"Imagination, dead imagine." Take It or Leave It: Institution, Image, Ideology Digital Archive. Los Angeles: Hammer Museum, 2017. https://​​take-it-or-leave-it/​art/​imagination-dead-imagine/​.