New York

Judith Barry

MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

In most accounts of the myth of Narcissus little attention is given to the significance of Echo: she is, as it were, expelled in a breath. Condemned first by Hera (for interrupting the goddess’ spying) to repeat only the last phrase of another’s speech, she is condemned a second time by desire and Narcissus’ indifference to fade away to a distant sound—no longer a voice, even, but a listener and recorder.

Echo, however, represents more than the absence of body or speech; she appears as an effect of a transference, as a persistent mnemonic residue. Her repetition, moreover, questions the conventions of narrativity, a recurrent preoccupation in the work of Judith Barry. Echo, 1986, Barry’s newest installation, utilizes the mass media and corporate display devices of playback—audio- and videotape, film and slide projection—to reveal some of the more sinister undertones of power. A free-hanging

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