The New Jersey based artist Robert Barry (born in 1936) like Dan Graham, Douglas Huebler, Joseph Kosuth or Lawrence Weiner is one of the central protagonists of the American conceptual art scene. His rarely shown early work (1963 to 1974/75), which has been brought together from numerous private and public collections for this publication has preserved its topicality and freshness right up to the present day.
In his "Interview Piece" in 1969, Robert Barry declared that his influence on the functioning of his work in the world is extremely limited because it largely only existed in the imagination of those who read it. With rigorous consistency, Robert Barry increasingly developed his work as early as 1967 towards the limits of immateriality and invisibility. He created three-dimensional installations with wire and nylon thread, performed events with argon, radium and other gases and then turned his hand to working with acoustic frequencies, noises and language. At the same time, since the end of the 1960s, he has been producing slide projections with individual words, photographs and text fragments.
Robert Barry has published several projects as books and in the early 70s began to work almost exclusively with the medium of language. For Barry it is not the words freed from every possible syntactical context that make art, for they are only the reference to extended concepts that are mediated through language. One of these concepts is the fathoming out of spatial experiences and dimensions which Barry has pursued constantly from the very beginning even in the paintings and paint objects that he produced between 1963 and 1967 through to his word spaces familiar to us today.