Sefir-Semler Gallery presents two conceptual artists in dialogue: Robert Barry, one of the most prominent representatives of American Minimalism and Conceptual Art and Croatian artist Ivan Kožari ?, whose work is linked to the International Conceptualism from the Western point of view. The selection of works highlights their completely different backgrounds and careers; and the influence of geographic, cultural and socio-political environments on the development of their respective styles.

Born in New York in 1936, Robert Barry is a veteran of Radical Minimalist Conceptual Art since the 1960s; challenging traditional rules and codices.He examines the relationship between surface and space, present and absent forms complemented by the viewer. In Space Paintings, for example, the space and makes it tangible in its sobriety, without any objective or emotional charge. Placing the painting on the wall, he works on the wall with his artwork. In the tradition of conceptual artists in the early 60s, he and his subverts reduce this own role as an artist. The selection and placement of words on monochrome colored or white paper and canvas in his early audio works, is similar random. Liberated from semantic contexts, the words are supposed to be emptiness ("Nothing seems to be the most potent thing in the world"). Accordingly, Barry created spatial installations using wires and transparent nylon filaments, performed actions with inert gas (inert gas series) or radioactive material (radiation pieces), and worked with acoustic frequencies, sounds, and speech. Robert Barry redefines empty space, even turning into the concept of a whole exhibition - during the exhibition the gallery wants to be closed - taking on the one hand a position of refusal, and emphasizing on the other hand a freedom beyond matter and common objectifications. Barry created spatial installations using wires and transparent nylon filaments, performed actions with inert gas (inert gas series) or radioactive material (radiation pieces), and worked with acoustic frequencies, sounds, and speech.

While Barry's artistic practice follows a linear development, Ivan Kožaric turns out to be a stylistic nomad. His practice is characterized by constant variations, transformations and experiments, with the premise of guaranteeing artistic freedom. Ivan Kožaric, born in 1921 near Zagreb, began his artistic career at a time when Social Realism is the favoured artistic direction. Due to a more liberal form of socialism in Yugoslavia, in which artistic creativity was not regulated by the state, his first works stemmed from an engagement with modernity. Sculptures of human figures, such as the Seated Man, mark the beginning of his artistic practice in the 50s, a reminiscence of Giacometti, Maillol, Brancusi or Rodin. This modernist phase is replaced by an increasing abstraction, conceptualization and stylization of form; and the work determines the search for the appropriate approach. Although Kožaric is mostly known as a sculptor, he has worked in various media and has created an extensive body of work ranging from permanent and temporary sculptures, installations and urban interventions to assemblages, drawings, photographs and paintings. Regardless of the medium the works express purity and perfection of the form typical to Minimalism, and reflect the process of their creation. The lightness with which Kožaric adopts different styles, forming his own fresh, spontaneous and humoristic artistic language, lends the works an immediacy and makes the artist's joy in the creation of his works palpable.

Robert Barry participated at Paris Biennale (1971), documenta 5, Kassel (1972) curated by Harald Szeemann, and Venice Biennale (1972). His works are part of renowned international collections such as Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Kunstmuseum Basel; MUMOK, Vienna; Albertina Museum, Vienna; MMK, Frankfurt; Chicago Art Institute, Chicago; Hirshhorn Museum, Washington; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; MOCA, Los Angeles and MoMA, New York.

Ivan Kožari?'s work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the following institutions: Musée d 'art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris (2002); Art Pavilion, Zagreb (2005-2006) and Haus der Kunst, Munich (2013). He participated in numerous group exhibitions such as Venice Biennale (1976), Sa?o Paulo Biennale (1979) and documenta 11, Kassel (2002). Since 2007, Kožari?'s studio has been part of the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb as a permanent installation.

exhibition views Sfeir-Semler Gallery Hamburg

Robert Barry


Ivan Kožaric