The cover artist of ROOMS 17 uncovered
Greg Barth is a London based award winning artist and director from Geneva, Switzerland, and the cover artist of our brand new issue, ROOMS 17 -- photographed by Alexandra Uhart.
Barth is known for producing work that combines Surrealism, Minimalism and Pop. His work seemed perfect for ROOMS 17’s tagline: ‘Who decides what you see?’ This question combined with Barth’s image creates a cover that approaches both art and politics.
Is the mask an act of censorship or an act of art?
A mask covers a person’s face. Who put the mask there? Is he forced to wear it, or is he willing? Why are his eyes covered up? What doesn’t he want to see? The mask could be obscuring his vision of the outside world, preventing him from seeing something. Or, the mask could be showing him something; inside the mask could be a digital screen or images, which showcases something, new and wondrous to him.
In either case the question still throws up political questions, both about state and about art. Thankfully in most countries, the state cannot control what you watch. This came to the fore when working on this issue of ROOMS, as many in the cultural world where still reeling from incident surrounding the infamous film ‘The Interview’. In art, the question of ‘Who decides what you see?’ is bound up is questions and theories surrounding the artist. Ultimately, when viewing an artwork the viewer’s thoughts return to the artist and why they created the work: ‘what do they want me to see?’ However, I would suggest more emphasis needs to be put on the viewer and what they can add to the work, rather than what they need to see. In this instance the same can be applied to our cultural freedom. I was encouraged when I saw members of the public, including the heads of film industries, critics and cinemagoers protesting and wanting to see the film. In the end we all have to stand up to our cultural freedom. We have a right to choose to look.
Jesc Bunyard interviews Greg Barth in our new issue ROOMS 17, Who decides what you see?