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  • Writer's pictureJana

Uta Barth

Through the Mac Arthur Foundation's interview on the subject

Exploring the nature of vision and the difference between how we see reality and how a camera records it in evocative, abstract compositions that focus attention on the act of looking and the process of perception, I became aware of Uta Barth.

(BARTH, Utah. 2012. MacArthur Foundation. -YouTube)


Uta Barth is an American conceptual artist and photographer whose work often explores the boundaries of photography and its relationship to perception and space.


“I rarely think of photography. I think of sculpture and installation and painting. I don't categorize media the way the world likes to."

(Utah Barth)


A blurred photograph by Uta Barth can be a shot of an object or scene that is deliberately blurred or out of focus. The blur reduces the visual information, allowing the viewer to focus more on the shapes, colors and textures of the scene and less on the specific objects or details.

The blurred photographs by Uta Barth invite the viewer to question and reflect on their perception of the world around them.


“ Barth unsettles the figure/ground relationship by assuming but omitting a clearly focused figure. What remains, and what Barth champions as plenty, is the ground. What conventionally would register as secondary becomes primary; the peripheral becomes all. These pictures aren't out of focus, she has explained now for decades; rather, they are focused on the point unoccupied by that absent figure.”

(Leah Ollman)


Barth's blurred photographs challenge the traditional notion of photography as an instrument of documentation and objectivity. Overall, Barth's photographs invite the viewer to engage more intensively with visual perception and to question the notion of photography as a purely documentary medium.

Fig. 2. Uta BARTH.1994


Figure 1. Uta BARTH. 1994. Ground # 42. [online image]

Available at:

[accessed 11. April 2023]

Figure 2. Uta Barth. 1994 Ground # 30.

Available at:

[accessed 11. April 2023]


BARTH, Uta. 2012. MacArthur Foundation. Available at:

[accessed 1st.April 2023]

BARTH, Uta. 2022. Los Angeles Times. Available at:

[accessed 1st.April 2023]

OLLMAN, Leah. 2023. Los Angeles Times. Available at:

[accessed 1st.April 2023]

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