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Robert Barta (CZ)

Crossing half a million stars

29. März - 20. April 2012

The limits of control, 2012
Kugellager Stahlkugeln, 8mm, 415000 Stk

Alle Fotos (c) Michel Bonvin, 2012

The Limits of Control

A lot of people walked out of Jim Jarmusch's last film, "The Limits of Control" (2009) before the screening was over. Probably this is because it was missing a few things that most films possess: a linear narrative, for instance. There's no inherent dramatic tension, either. The viewer, then, must create his own story either while viewing or after the fact. Therefore, you could say the viewer becomes as important as the director - or indeed that the viewer is the director of his own viewing.

In the installation "The Limits of Control", which consists of roughly half a million (8mm) metal balls that cover entirely the floor and visitors are invited to enter the exhibition space. To be able to actually walk on this surface without slipping and falling, one has to be extremely careful. This way of moving is reminiscent of other states: blind,drunk or walking on very thin ice that just is about to break. It makes participants more conscious of their own movements, and both participants and spectators become more aware of on one another. It creates an ongoing performance shared by all present - a kind of collective entertainment that forces visitors to focus differently on themselves and each other.

Has the artist fatally misunderstood the whole purpose of making an exhibition? Or perhaps there is something else the artist might be after... In "The Limits of Control" the piece becomes the gallery space and the visitor becomes the object of desire. And, as in the film of the same name, the roles of the artist and the audience are reversed. If the visitor is ready to be challenged, then it is up to him how far to go - always knowing that at some point he could lose control.

"Sometimes the reflection is far more present the the thing beeing reflected" is one of the few senteces, that one of the main actors reveals to his opponent. When the victim is asking how the guy "did get in", even the viewer has absolutely no idea, because the movie doesn't show and reveal the answer. The only clue lies in the guy's respond : "I used my imagination".

Needless to say, Barta brings us on a proscenium of a particular theater, under a heated limelight, where, through his game of reversals, twists and squeezes, while humming a famous unfamiliar tune, tries to put us in a certain mood, and certain mode: to turn that brain dial from standby to on, to look around us through a healthy diopter of (self) irony glasses. But not to become bitter but better and to try to do with our famed (5%) mental capacity "more and more with less and less until eventually you can do everything with nothing". (excerpt from text by Vladimir Isailović)

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