Here are some install shots of my recent show Trinity at The Saatchi Gallery. This was a really great experience for me, as it was the first time I’ve ever completely covered with tape the entirety of the walls that my work is presented on. As well as that, it’s the Saatchi, which is always a great place to show.
This was also only the second time I’ve exhibited sculpture alongside my tape paintings. One of these was a collaboration with Wilma Vaisanen.
After the show finished, The Saatchi Gallery decided to extend part of my show, so the sold works were sent off to their respective new owners, and the others were rehung on the smaller of my two walls, which they can still be viewed on now.
To see more of the individual works in the show, please go HERE
To see the remaining available works, please go HERE
2018 was a massive year for me, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have been involved in some amazing projects, so I thought I’d compile a little list of highlights and thanks. It was a VERY busy year, and as such there is a lot to cover; inevitably I am going to miss some stuff accidentally, and if I do miss you our I’m sorry, I’ll update the list as and when. That’s also the reason I am so late to the party in posting this.
One of the biggest highlights of the year was my solo show Lavish Entropy with Delphian Gallery in the summer, which was a lot of fun being able to host my own show at my gallery – possibly the biggest thanks of all to my business partner Nick JS Thompson.
Lavish Entropy at Delphian Gallery
I have been hired as an associate lecturer at University of the Arts London, which I’m super happy about. I have a deep love of learning (I wish I did whilst I was actually at uni though), and I love being in such a buzzing hub of creativity – thanks to my new boss Charley Peters for this.
I have exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery three times this year, the latter of the three shows being one in which I had a lot of wall space to myself to do what I like with, and so felt like a mini solo show. Thanks to all at the Saatchi for this.
At my solo show, I also released my first play Flowering Desolation, which is written entirely using single sentences harvested from over 80 sources of classic literature. It is available to download for free HERE. Thanks to Kenton Thomas for all your help with formatting it, and being the first to read it and give me feedback.
For my solo show catalogue I asked one of my all time favourite artists Andrew Salgado to write a little something. I was blown away by the response, which was a 1000 word essay, and summed me up better than I ever could have done myself.
The gallery I co-own Delphian Gallery has really taken off, and I’m super happy to have been included in such a great project. We launched a little over a year ago, and am already exhibiting some of my favourite contemporary artists. These include solo shows with Jordy Kerwick, Florence Hutchings, and Carson Lancaster – HUGE thanks to them.
Also a big thanks to Stuart Waplington and all at theprintspace for allowing us to do some shows in their space, and helping out with everything.
The Delphian Open Call was incredible, receiving over 8,000 submissions which was CRAZY. The overall winner was Florence Hutchings, and the other winners included Igor Moritz, Geoffrey Bohm, Jonathan Edelhuber, Bertrand Fournier, Ellie Geary, Philip Gerald, Rosie Gilligan, Klaus Is Coming, and loads more – thank you all.
I am an alumni of The University of Salford, and have been asked to close the ceremony with a 40 minute lecture about myself and my work. I did my Bachelors Degree and my Masters Degree both at the uni, so it is a real honour to be asked by them to speak at one of their events. This lecture will be delivered in the Churchill War Rooms, which again, is also a massive honour.
This will be a panel discussion with three speakers, who will each give a short lecture before the discussion. At the end, there will be an opportunity for the audience to ask questions. Tickets for this free event can be found at the link above.
Next month, I will be chairing another panel discussion at Delphian Gallery, the details of this will be released in due time.
There is also more exciting regular lecture news to come, details of which I will also release soon.
This December I have another exhibition at The Saatchi Gallery, which will be my fourth there overall, and my third this year.
For this show, I am taking over two walls in their Prints & Editions gallery and taping all over the walls before hanging artworks on top. I will also present some of my ceramic sculptures there for the first time.
Below are some of the works I have created for the show.
The first piece is this Matisse-inspired work, the pose for which is taken from Matisse’s Blue Nude. (Below)
Blue Nude – Matisse
This is the first time I’ve had a model recreate a pose from an existing artwork, which made the whole thing loads easier to draw. I definitely plan on doing more of these portraits inspired by the greats, so if you have any suggestions please let me know.
As well as this piece, another new work for the show is this three-layered tape drawing below. I don’t have a title for this one yet, so let me know if you have any ideas for what I should call it.
Untitled Still Life
This still life is a three-layered work, so the foreground flowers were done on one layer of glass, the vase and mid-level flowers on another, and the background on a third. Once I’ve done the tape drawing on the glass I encase the whole thing in a clear resin (just to preserve the tape), and paint white anything within the boundaries of what I want to be opaque, so you can’t see the middle layer through the flowers on the first layer etc.
The little bust you can see is a portrait of Leo Tolstoy, just because he is great.
For more of my works at the Saatchi Gallery, go HERE
And to see how I plan to tape up the walls, go HERE
And for the Saatchi Gallery’s official website, go HERE
In their latest show, Gagosian gallery is isolating two works from the Chris Burden retrospective at New Museum in New York in 2013, and presenting them together in their Brittania Street gallery. Entitled Measured, the show speaks of symmetry, bringing together two works that exist via the equality of weight between two opposing objects. In Porsche With Meteorite, a genuine nickel-iron meteorite counterbalances a restored Porsche 914.
Porsche With Meteorite
This work is one which suggests immense, and yet dormant, power. The power of the sports-car is curtailed and it is left sitting idly, as if weightless, whilst the meteorite sits cold upon the opposing end of the fulcrums arm. These two objects have had past lives that were incredibly high-octane, for Burden’s restoration of a vintage car rather than the selection of a showroom floor model is not merely serendipitous. These objects have been imbued with an immense power, which through his transfiguration, have become impotent in their stillness. They seem to have lost their virility, and sit immobile, suspended in time.
The meteorite is only twenty percent of the weight of the car, and for this reason the beam that supports both is much longer on the meteorites end. It is a purpose-built structure that towers overhead, telescopic – although the lack of registration-marks on the uniform oxidisation suggests that this functionality is only for show; it has potential, but this potential will never be actualised. The vehicles have been painstakingly restored to their former perfection, whilst the oxidised steel components, display an artificial history that in the vehicles js genuine, but obscured.
The viewer is at once struck with the delicacy of the work, and yet feels insecure in the potential for danger. In many ways both works in Measured are redolent of his 1996 work The Flying Steamroller, in which a twelve-tonne steamroller is attached to a pivoted arm, counterbalanced on the opposite side. In the middle of the arm, there is a rotating fulcrum that allows the steamroller to lift off the ground and float in the air once it has reached a high enough velocity for the counterweight to elevate it. In this work the potential for unmitigated disaster is very real, and it is impossible to not be struck by the delicacy with which this immensely dangerous event is taking place. The steamroller glides serenely through the air like a bird.
Chris Burden – One Ton Crane Truck
The other work in the show, One-Ton Crane Truck is a refurbished Ford truck counterbalanced with a purpose-built single tonne cube, which contrasts with and exemplifies the exotic nature of the meteorite. In this work, the vehicle is a rudimentary machine used for laborious work, which is diametrically opposed to the extravagent sports-car in the other room. This juxtaposition of the functional and familiar robustness of the crane truck and cube, with the exotic sports car and meteorite, seems to highlight the intrinsic qualities of each by playing them off against one another. The sports car appears all the more luxurious and fast, whilst the truck speaks of rigidity and strength. This piece is slightly less successful than its counterpart however, and as was suggested to me by a friend, a bit ‘cartoony’. The one-tonne weight is a rather arbritrary measurement, as the trucks front wheels are planted firmly on the ground. Were they to be lifted ever-so-slightly off the floor, the work would have been immeasurably powerful, but alas, that is not the case. Having the counterweight a purpose-built cube, as opposed to a magical, extra-terrestrial chunk of metal, diminishes this work somewhat. It does however, suggest that this work means something different to its opposite, in that here the work suggests industry and industrialization, grounded in the real, laborious world. The other has a magical, almost fairytale quality, and is suggestive of some kind of freedom (or its lack thereof). It is not that either work critiques or diminishes the other, rather that they both speak of similar ideas, in opposing ways.
Burden’s early work was chaotic and reckless, but never haphazard. There was a raw energy and freedom to his performance works that now, because of his untimely death, will never be seen again. This show has a somber quietness to it, that when viewed after the artist’s premature death, screams of lost potential. The cars potential as a conduit to immense power and freedom is left suspended, and isolated from the very ground that gives it its meaning. In this however, it is imbued it with a newer, more abstract power. The meteorite appears as if lassoed out of the sky, hung upon a metal gallows and displayed in all its impotence, energy lost irretrievably.
In Burden’s earlier work, he put himself at great physical danger and exposed himself to actual bodily harm for his works. Towards the end of his career, he made works that placed the viewer in arenas of potential danger, with The Big Wheel and Steamroller, where there always seemed that chaos was ready to break free. In these works presented in Measured, the chaos and energy that could ensue has long passed, and now lays dormant within these objects, perfectly suspended to reflect that an equilibrium has been reached between chaos and calm. The gallery has a stillness that heightens the balance of the two works, both individually with the literal balance between objects, but also the way in which both works discourse with each other.
As Mark Rothko once said, “complete equilibrium is death”, and within these works, it is the perfect symmetry of both that each nullifies the power of its opposite. All ordered systems strive towards chaos, and these equal and opposing forces arrest this eagerness for disorder, creating a stunted equilibrium redolent of serenity. It is a stale serenity however, as each work calls to mind a lost potential, which when read in the post-Burden landscape, echoes of loss.
Words: Benjamin Murphy
Chris Burden, ‘Measured’, runs through 26/01/19, Gagosian, 6-24 Brittanian Street
I’m very excited to have just released my newest linoprint SlowFiasco.
It’s an A3 hand drawn, cut, and printed linoprint on the highest-quality Fabriano Rosaspina Bianco paper. This is a test print for a new technique of printing multiple layers onto the same paper. This is the first time I have done this technique.
Slow Fiasco Linoprint
The lace veil, as well as the plants in the vase, and the plants coming in from the right, are all a separate layer of lino that is printed on top of the first layer.
It’s a run of only 15 prints so I’m expecting them to go fast.
I have recently been playing around with new ways to hang works, by mixing up how I play around with the tape in the frame and the tape on the wall. Below is my most recent of the hanging experiments, in which I have draw a flat pattern onto a wall as if it is wallpaper, and then hung the framed works on top of it.
Semi-Skimmed Gallery (September 2018)
Other hanging experiments can be seen in these posts from my solo show at Beers Contemporary in January 2016, and this other drawing I did on the walls of the Tate Modern in December of 2016.
Before I have either continued the drawings onto the walls, beyond the confines of their frames, or made original drawings onto the walls themselves. I am experimenting now with paring this all back, and taping only flat patterns on which to hang the works.
I was recently invited to take part in the annual JNY project, in which 30 artists each released a print which was printed by Jealous Gallery. Each was an edition of 36, and mine was a three-layer screen print of one of my most popular works to date, Ophelia. The original was inspired by the character of the same name from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and is an A4 black electrical tape painting on glass, which I then encased in resin and framed. It was shown at my fifth solo show Lavish Entropy with Delphian Gallery in July.
I absolutely LOVE how they printed these, with a subtle grey layer to delineate the shadows under where the tape is on the original, and a gloss white layer on the flowers. I was very happy to have been invited to take part in this project again, as I had such great feedback about my print from the project a few years ago.
After shows in both Jealous galleries, these prints went on to be exhibited for a whole month at The Saatchi Gallery, in their Prints & Originals room. It was incredible to show at the Saatchi again, as it’s one of my favourite London Galleries. They also shared my piece on their Instagram account and in their mailinglist, which was flattering.
I have held back a batch of these prints and will be making them available for sale just before Christmas. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to add yourself to the waiting list if you would like one.
Big thanks to Dario, Louise, Nick, as well as Paul at The Saatchi for making this happen again.