Thomas Zander

Victor Burgin

13 Mar - 21 May 2010

© Victor Burgin
Still aus der Videoarbeit "Dovedale", 2010 (Detail aus Joseph Wright of Derbys Gemälde "Dovedale im Mondlicht", 1785)

13 March - 21 May 2010
Opening: Saturday, 13 March, 4 p.m.

The artist will be present at the reception.

With an introduction by Prof. Dr. Alexander Streitberger, Université de Louvain, Belgium.

Talk: Sunday, 14 March, 12 p.m.
Victor Burgin in conversation with Prof. Dr. Hubertus von Amelunxen, Berlin

Galerie Thomas Zander is pleased to present the new video and photographic work “Dovedale” of British artist Victor Burgin, which was created especially for this exhibition in Cologne. Burgin first came to attention with his early conceptual photo/text-works, and since the late 1960s he has worked as an influential conceptual artist and theorist. In numerous essays and monographs he links his work, which is influenced by thinkers and philosophers like Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Michel Foucault or Roland Barthes, to a semiotic, historical and psychoanalytic context. Burgin stands for an aesthetics that blends motifs from psychoanalysis and structuralism while exploring the tensions between political conflict and aesthetic desire.

In his video works, which since the 1990s have broadened the scope of his work, Burgin turns the viewer’s attention to the real world – seen through a prism of narrative, memory and fantasy. The artist describes it as follows: “My photographic and video works are responses to the places, usually cities, to which I am invited. When I work I follow the path of my associations, of what comes spontaneously to mind. I often find that being in one place will remind me of another, or of a book, a film or a personal memory”.
In his latest video work “Dovedale”, a French woman art historian visits a German museum to study a landscape by an English painter. She sits in the café of the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne, writes postcards and thinks about the work – “Dovedale by Moonlight” (1785) by Joseph Wright of Derby. This is the premise of Victor Burgin's new projection work “Dovedale”. We do not see the woman, or the café, but we “listen” to her reverie as she looks at, or remembers, Wright's landscape. What we see on the screen is a deconstruction of Wright's painting as his virtual camera moves around it.
Burgin's projection piece is accompanied by a new still photographic work based on photographs made by Burgin in the Peak District in Derbyshire, England, at the place depicted in Wright's landscape.

Burgin’s works touch on questions of archived memory and multiple codings of places of remembrance. The psychoanalytic investigation of desire for an absent object subtly plays into the historiographic question of reconstructioning the past. As in earlier works, Burgin considers the institutional conditions of writing history, which is also a crucial concern for art theory, and he shows that the historical archive and the museum are closely related structures. In this way, the exhibition reflects the social conditions of artistic production and contributes to the current political and theoretical reorientation of art.

Victor Burgin (born in Sheffield, England in 1941) received various awards, among them a nomination for the renowned Turner Prize. His works are collected by major institutions like the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Gallery in London or the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, and they are on view in numerous solo and group exhibitions worldwide. Most recently, Burgin’s work has been shown at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and in the solo exhibition “Hôtel D.” in Toulouse.
Burgin held teaching positions at the University of California at Santa Cruz and the Goldsmiths College, University of London. Recently, he has been a visiting professor at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fe, Switzerland and at the Sorbonne in Paris. The artist lives and works in Somerset, England and in Paris.

Also on 13 March, the galleries Schmidt Maczollek and Michael Wiesehöfer open their first exhibitions in their new gallery spaces at Schönhauser Str. 8. Our joint openings, which we will celebrate on Saturday afternoon from 4 p.m. with “Kölsch and Currywurst”, will be the first project of the three galleries. Through the connection of adjacent cultural and art institutions in the last few years, the Schönhauser Straße has already established itself as an attractive spot in the Cologne art scene. As the two art galleries have moved in now, this will be further developed in order to attract both local and international visitors. In addition to the joint openings, further events will be organised like artist’s talks, panel discussions, curated exhibitions, creating a conversation between the programmes of the galleries. We will also continue to involve the Forum für Fotografie and the Literaturhaus Köln, also located at Schönhauser Str. 8 creating interesting links between various artistic genres.

Tags: Hubertus von Amelunxen, Victor Burgin