Disaster, terror and hysteria are at the heart of New Life, David Burrows’ major new installation for Chisenhale Gallery. The exhibition is introduced by a series of ‘Articles of Faith’, based on Martin Luther’s revolutionary Theses of 1517, an event that created political and religious chaos in Europe. These texts have been updated by Burrows to encompass mass media and celebrity culture. Inside the exhibition space, a specially created fresco of a burst heart is emblazoned with the slogan ‘The Modern Spirit is Never Again’.
Strewn throughout the gallery, a baroque assemblage of debris appears to have been created by a recent catastrophe, violent event or frenzied celebration. Ripped shoes and fragments of clothing, suspended in motion, are arranged against a backdrop of damaged architectural structures. Large-scale photographic tableaux, influenced by shop window display, depict apparent consumer chaos.
The initial impression of devastation in New Life is interrupted by immaculate attention to detail, saturated colours and a floor that sparkles with grey dust. Burrows works with precision and care, meticulously cutting his objects from soft materials such as foam, rubber and vinyl. An air of optimism and joy is proposed by the ruins of New Life
Burrows was born in London and obtained an MA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College in 1994. Between 1993 and 1995 he was a member of the art collective BANK. In 2001 he was shortlisted for the Beck's Futures art prize. Solo exhibitions include Praz-Delavallade, Paris (2001); fa projects, London (2002); Fredericke Taylor Gallery, New York (2002); Note, Arezzo (2002). Burrows received a Paul Hamlyn Award for Visual Artists in 2002.
New Life will be touring to: Collective Gallery, Edinburgh: 10 July - 7 August 2004; Mead Gallery, University of Warwick: 29 September - 2 December 2004; Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth: January - March 2005
Click here for the accompaning publication to this exhibtion in the shop.
Published by Mead Gallery, 2004
Paperback, colour illustrations, pp 88
Texts by: Caroline Douglas, Simon O’Sullivan, David Burrows.
“From that point on I saw nothing. The bursts of machine-gun fire followed one after another in a silence disturbed only by the sound of exploding glasses; it seemed to go on forever. The smell of gumpowder was very intense. Then everything went silent again. I noticed that my left arm was covered in blood; Valerie must have been hit in the chest or the throat. (…) Just then, from the direction of the leisure complex, came an enormous explosion which ripped through the entire area and echoed round the bay for a long time. At first I thought my eardrums had burst, but a few seconds later, in the midst of my daze, I became aware of a concert of dreadful screams, the gebuibe screams of the damned.” From Michael Houellebecq’s Platform
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