The Israeli artist with a huge following wanted to make his works even more accessible. He chose KULTURA/OWW, the AI-driven art platform which has already grown to 660 times the size of the Louvre
(London, 17th of June 2020) Ted Barr, the internationally recognized Israeli artist, famous for his research on the cosmos and on the cycles of life, has chosen to be present with his own space in KULTURA/OWW, the online platform entirely dedicated to art, with more than 80,000 galleries.
Earth, Water, Air, and Fire, the primordial elements of nature, define the spaces within his gallery that can be visited on the web, open 24 hours a day.
The presence of Ted Barr, an artist who has written many essays about philosophy and symbolisms, but also about void and matter, and who has exhibited in galleries and museums all over the world, is the symptom of a dramatic change: the parallel universe that is taking shape on the internet is becoming an essential place for artists, who express themselves in this new dimension.
In this interview Ted Barr tells about his research and explains how a real artistic revolution is taking place, which is taking shape on online platforms and on social media, where people's judgment replaces that of critics and curators, offering a brand new vision.
What does presenting in an immaterial space like KULTURA/OWW mean to you?
KULTURA/OWW represents for me total freedom of expression, from the first time I saw a gallery there I grasped the huge potential in a totally different way of presenting art. The traditional art world is dominated by collectors, museums, and curators, the new art world that is represented by KULTURA/OWW transfers the power to the people, you don't have to be an art critic or a curator to be an active participant in the new fascinating art scene that is forming in front of our eyes. I am confident that KULTURA/OWW and similar sites that would follow are the harbingers of the next art revolution.
In your gallery, there is a path between the natural elements, from air to fire. What is the meaning of this design?
I am interested in the core elements, in what causes us human beings to be and function. The Earth, Water, Air, and Fire elements are an ancient symbol of the starting point, of the formation of all that exists on Planet Earth including Human Beings. I first thought to call the rooms in my gallery, Proton, Neutron, Electron, and Gluon.
Many artworks in your gallery are inspired by the concept of FLY (Free the Life within You) art. What does this concept mean?
I gave a lecture at Symbiosis University at Pune and started by saying that if we would like to understand FLY we need to speak about its 3 elements:
Freedom, Life, and who is this You or me that we are talking about. It’s hard to summarize an hour-long lecture in few sentences but if to deal with the core issue of FLY it is about freeing our mind from what stops us from being closer to our creativity and real potential.
By freedom, I mean enlarging the variety of choices and not being intimidated to choose what is the right choice for us. The deeper layer of freedom is the understanding that time is but a human invention, beginning or end is derived from our limited reality perception.
Life is the limited time our spirit has been given on this planet within a physical body, and better use this short visit wisely. The deeper meaning of life is the understanding that our current life within a body on our planet is but one of many cycles, that with a body is called life and without a body is mistakenly called death.
You or I are human definitions for what makes our hearts tik and our brains think. It is only when our minds are attuned to our destiny as human beings in our momentary appearance on this planet that we will be free.
How did you conceive your gallery in KULTURA/OWW?
I was fortunate enough to have the talented Jennifer Boothroyd (‘Glitter’) from Portland as the gallery designer, I instructed her about my main colors and space ideas but otherwise let her express her creativity without my interference, I was so amazed when I saw my KULTURA/OWW gallery the first time, it perfectly captures the essence of FLY.
What opportunities having a gallery in KULTURA/OWW unlocked?
One of the first requests I asked Jennifer, the gallery designer, was to include few written FLY messages on the walls, FLY is about pausing for a moment and asking:
Why are we here?
What is our destiny?
Why are we in a physical body?
And why for such a short period?
In our family dinners, we have a ritual of holding hands, close our eyes, and pray for few moments, it is a short pause in time in which we bless our togetherness and the food on our table and that nothing is there for granted.
I hope that my KULTURA/OWW gallery would cause visitors to pause and for a short brief in time would resonate with those feelings and would ask themselves those questions.
Your art is inspired by galaxies and embryos, from the infinitely big to the infinitely small. What do they have in common?
There is a lot in common between stars and human beings I call it the GaMoCy resemblance:
Gathering – there are no lonely planets, planets orbit stars, stars form galaxies, galaxies are bound together into clusters. As human beings are born to families and are part of a community, city, state, continent, and Planet Earth. We are all tiny parts of a larger entity.
Movement – no star stands still, all celestial elements are moving, rotating, swiveling around greater mass objects, as human beings that move externally by their legs and internally by their blood and nerve systems.
Cycles – each celestial element and each human being have its cycle of life, there won't be a human being that would last forever as stars would terminate their life span by explosion or by being swollen by a bigger star or a Black Hole, human cycles and star cycles are both on the bar of matter-energy transformation.
Your artistic research has a philosophic basis. To understand your paintings, it is important to know your writings too. Which is the inner essence of your art?
We human beings tend to see the final results, I am more interested in what caused our life to be, and in the process and destiny of human life. The newborn child is a result of a magical melange between sperm and ovum a miraculous combination of chromosomes, cells, and life energy (that sometimes is referred to as spirit). I am interested in the essence of human life, what is the reason behind our existence, and our host Planet Earth within the Solar System.
Stars and galaxies are built from the same brick stones as human beings, but there is much behind the scenes, gravity and attraction are the reason behind galactic formations. We are all developing, moving, changing, transforming from physical to energetic beings in our next level of existence. The inner essence behind the FLY art is a Kabbalistic saying in Hebrew it is written: כלמעלה כך למטה – kalemaala kah lemata
In a rough translation, it reads: as above so below, in the FLY method it speaks about merging flowing contradicting elements in layers.
You said that “the most challenging aspect of your work is how to keep Ted Barr out of your studio”. In an art world that exists only on the web, this aspect is easier to reach?
By keeping Ted Barr out of the studio I mean that I prefer creating from a less disturbed place. Ted Barr which happens to be my given name carries with it many habits, fears, doubts, uncertainties, polarities, and an enormous heavy Ego. When I am creating in my studio, I would prefer Ted Barr to be somewhere else, this is the reason I don't sign my art by my name but with a symbol, I have created. But unfortunately, this Ted Barr is very persistent, he doesn’t leave me alone, always there, can’t get rid of him, so I developed my ways to escape him, my best artworks are made when I succeed.
You write “about our place as sparkling entities within the vastness of a dark universe”. Firstly there were stars and galaxies, then you caught on the similarity between embryos, and galaxies. In your imagination, where are the immaterial spaces that exist only on the web placed? Are they closer to the galaxies or the embryos?
I wrote many articles about human perception, everything we see and feel is derived from our perception which is but our translation of the data soaked in by our senses. On this note, the gap between the real world and the cybernetic world narrows. An image seen in Instagram can leave a greater mark than what we see and translate as daily life, what is more real? Reality is what our minds translate as such sometimes with no connection to what exists around us. I was never on another galaxy but in the past 25 years I painted galaxies that are now presented in my KULTURA/OWW gallery, I hope that those who would visit my gallery (or discover my works through the AI) and view those galaxies and stars would experience the same awe feeling I had when creating them.
Have you created artworks expressly for virtual spaces?
I don't create for something or for someone I create because I don't have any other choice.
I'll rephrase René Descartes's ' Cogito ergo sum' to 'Ego creo ergo sum' – I create means that I exist. There is an inner urge in me to express myself regardless of the space or medium the final artwork would be showed in. I know many artists that changed their medium and started producing art on their computers, I am not there, I still need my canvases, the paint, and the Turpentine scent to feel at home.
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