Judith Barry ::
Imagination, Dead Imagine, 1991

video installation
295 x 253,5 x 253,5 cm
Collection of Contemporary Art Fundación "La Caixa", Barcelona

For Imagination, dead imagine [1991] an androgynous head is projected as if contained within a mirrored Minimalist cube. Sounds of the head slowly breathing fill the space. The head is serene, waiting. Suddenly a substance pours over it from all sides, drenching it in what appears to be a bodily fluid. The spectator wants to turn away, but cannot. Horror at the repulsive nature of the substances is replaced by fascination with their beauty as they apparently change into majestic but abstract landscapes.
Theoretical starting points for Barry's project were her analysis of various historical as well as contemporary concepts of the body as discussed by, for example, the French philosophers Maurice Merleau Ponty and Julie Kristeva, or as inherent in the legacy of Minimal Art.
The main focus of the work is the reference to different aspects of the body as defined through its elision and abjection, in combination with Merleau Ponty's concept of primacy of lived bodily experience established as an internal horizon that produces meaning. Commenting on the horror vacui Barry sees as a condition of this experience, she choose the title Imagination, dead imagine to invoke the work of Samuel Beckett.