The American Chris Burden (°1946) can without exaggeration be regarded a key player in contemporary art. His performances in the 1970s redefined the possibilities of the medium; the sculptures and installations he made in later years opened up new horizons of what is physically possible in visual arts.
With his celebrated early performances, such as Shoot (1971), or Trans-fixed (1974), he not only established his reputation as an infamous iconoclast, he furthermore created a number of absolute icons of contemporary art quite early on in his career.
The exhibition at the Middelheimmuseum demonstrates that much has changed in the language of communication of the artist since those first hard-hitting performances, yet that the same basic ideas live on. It offers viewers a unique combination of work from the early stages of Burden’s career as well as some of his recent work.
Beam Drop Antwerp
The highlight of the exhibition is Beam Drop Antwerp. This sculpture will be constructed live before a large audience on May 30. Chris Burden will display a selection of his Bridges in the Braem Pavilion and the Middelheim Castle. These scale models of special bridges from around the world are completely made from Meccano and the American version Erector.
With the performance, installation and sculptures of Chris Burden, the Middelheimmuseum will once again shine the spotlight on a pioneering artist, an artist who not only changed the history of visual arts for good 30 years ago, but is reinventing modern sculpture singlehandedly today.