Born in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia in 1964 and living and working in New York, Ian Burns is renowned for inventive sculptural works that combine consumer objects with digital technologies. Seeing curiosity as the first of all passions, he believes that by provoking the investigative impulse in the viewer there is scope to challenge their expectations and self-awareness.
Often animated by light and movement, Burns’ witty assemblages explore the constructs of contemporary society. These are comprised of humming circuits of wires, fans, lights, motors and other more familiar materials such as plastic utensils, stepladders, buckets, chopping boards, etc. Highly visual and engaging, these works invoke curiosity with the very ways they function. Encouraging a playful spirit of investigation, his works provoke active and self-aware consideration of consumerist culture and modes of consumption.
Burns’s sculptures and installations reference high and low culture with equal zeal, eliciting unforgettable images that blur the boundaries between hope and negation, laughter and frustration. At the core of his practice is the impact of technological aesthetics on contemplation and the understanding of physicality.
Featured image: Ian Burns – Bloodline, 2014 (detail). Mixed media. 63 × 19 7/10 × 19 7/10 in. 160 × 50 × 50 cm. Photo courtesy Galerie Ernst Hilger.