Friday, October 5, 2012

Ian Burn | Mirror Piece

Ian Burn
Mirror Piece
New York City, USA: Self-published, 1967
57.4 x 350 cm. 
Mirror, wood, photocopies on cardboard. 
Signed edition of 35. 

"Through Mirror piece, produced in New York in 1967, Burn explored the idea of looking and seeing, and demanded a new kind of attention and mental participation from the viewer. He purposely used common materials in this work to copy a household bathroom mirror. Burn felt that if the subject matter is familiar, then the familiar object, in this case the mirror, is seen but not looked at. This is further complicated as the reflective quality of the mirror actually denies the surface any observable substance. Instead the viewer, immediately confronted with his or her own image, cannot look past the reflection. To do so would require an ability to look at oneself seeing, thereby presenting a visual paradox.

What is it that we are looking at? By placing glass over the mirror Burn fragmented the image, the qualities of which he explored in the 13 photocopied pages mounted on card and framed alongside the mirror. Burn also included instructions on how to make the mirror piece, as he felt that, once the structure of the work of art was established, the idea could be repeated at random outside the artist's involvement.

From 1965 to 1970, Burn produced a series of mirror and glass pieces as he continued to explore how we see things. The growth of Conceptual Art in Australia benefitted greatly through the direct link created by Australian artists like Burn, working in New York."  - Barbara Poliness, 2002.

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