You Wish, 2020
Object type: Site-specific installation
Inventory number: On permanent loan
Material: Plexiglas, two wipers with motors, hemp rope, control unit
Dimensions: 250cm × 200cm (8'2" × 6'7")
On display: Yes
Robert Barta produced the site-specific installation You Wish for Museum Starnberger See in winter 2020 while the Covid pandemic was still underway.
The wall of Plexiglas in front of the ticket office initially serves a very practical purpose as a social distancing screen separating staff from visitors to prevent infection. Measuring 2 meters wide by 2½ meters tall, it leans toward visitors in the foyer, and is reminiscent of the wheelhouse of a steamer. This resemblance was deliberately chosen; after all, one of the museum’s functions is to preserve the history of regional shipping. Accordingly, the artist incorporated a ship’s windshield wipers into the work. When anybody gets near, the wipers automatically start cleaning the large sheet of Plexiglas. As the shiny chrome mechanical blades move back and forth, they define the area where the visitors stand as outside, and the area used by museum staff as inside. Those working in the ticket office take on the appearance of captains steering the museum through the dangers of the pandemic. Barta develops a cryptic symbolism from the protective barrier and wraps it in his characteristic humor.
Robert Barta was born in the Czech city of Prague in 1975. He lives and works in Berlin and Frankfurt (Main).
This project was kindly supported by funding from the NEUSTART crash program for Covid-related investments in cultural institutions.