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Robert Barry : One Billion Colored Dots

image from Robert Barry : One Billion Colored Dots

specific object / david platzker


Robert Barry : One Billion Colored Dots

March 30 - April 24, 2009

Specific Object / David Platzker is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Barry : One Billion Colored Dots. The exhibition will be on view at Specific Object from March 30 - April 24, 2009.

In this project Specific Object presents a new edition by Robert Barry consisting of twenty-five volumes -- each volume composed of 2,000 printed pages, each page with 40,000 dots, each volume containing 40,000,000 dots, thus presenting 1,000,000,000,000 dots through the course of the 25 volumes. Additionally, each volume has been printed in a single color. The edition contains one volume in each of the following colors: red, blue, orange, violet, green, yellow, maroon, blue green, light green, ochre, light purple, light grey, dark blue, pink, yellow green, purple, light orange, red violet, light yellow, silver, light blue, grey, gold, white, and black. Over the span of the twenty-five volumes one billion colored dots are presented.

... What kind of readers are we when we peruse the twenty-five volumes of One Billion Colored Dots? Does experience result from reading? Certainly not. It assumes an appearance thereof because a book is involved, but this book does not contain any information, except on the title page and at the end of each book on the page containing the colophon. And no imagery is disguised in these expanses of dots, even if all you would have to do is link up some of them, in a certain order, to bring out thousands of images! So regarded as a set of books, One Billion Colored Dots is empty. And regarded as a reservoir, it is full. Full, but contentless. For, as Sartre said: "Colors and forms are not signs, they refer to nothing that is outside them." And we are faced with this sum like a person suffering from memory problems, before which, in a disorderly manner, process the guests at a reception held in his honor, and who, having for each guest a fair-minded word of welcome, would be unable to tell whom among his guests have already been introduced to him, and whom he still has to greet. To keep up appearances, these seriously ill people wear an occasional smile in society, but they are lost and confined in a profound loneliness. In front of Robert Barry’s billion dots, we are lost, alone in front of the host and we flit from one volume to another, without either order or method, like the pilot in Saint-Exupéry’s Vol de Nuit [Night Flight]. For it would be silly to start on page 1 and hope to end up one day on the 50,200th page. Just as it would be absurd to slip in a bookmark, promising to resume one’s reading later, where one had left off. Robert Barry’s accumulations of dots are part of a very specific category of books which exist in their own right, without it being necessary to open every page... if one has leafed through very superficially at least once ...

-- from Frédéric Paul's essay About One Billion Colored Dots by Robert Barry

A complete copy of Paul's essay and details about the project may be downloaded at:

Robert Barry : One Billion Colored Dots was published in 2008 by mfc-michèle didier, Brussels, and has been produced in a limited edition of 30 signed and numbered copies, with 5 additional artist proofs. Price on request.

Specific Object's hours are Monday - Friday 10 AM to 5 PM, or by appointment.

Specific Object is located at 601 West 26th Street / Floor 2M / Room M285, New York, New York 10001.

Telephone (212) 242-6253.

Specific Object's website is

For additional information regarding the exhibition or Specific Object please email David Platzker at