Chris Burden


Preface by David Neuman, Director Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall
A Conversation with Chris Burden, interview by Måns Wrange, Artist and Art Historian
B-Car, The Bridges and The Speed of Light Machine, essay by Chris Burden

Exhibition catalogue no 19
No of pages: 
49, color, illustrated
soft cover

Language: Swedish and English
Year: 1999
Publisher: Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall

Available for purchase in our museum entrance for 300 SEK (approx. 30 EUR)


A Conversation with Chris Burden by Måns Wrange

Måns Wrange: I would like to start with discussing something that relates to this particular situation – that is, talking about art as opposed to experiencing it. Would it be fair to say that one aspect of your work deals with the relation between first-hand and second-hand experience?

Chris Burden: Yes, a lot of my work has been about experiencing how different things work or feel. Take Shoot for example. You see people getting shot on T.V. everyday, so I wanted to find out how it would be to receive a bullet in my body. But it wasn’t really the violence or the pain I was interested in, but the mental experience.

MW: But isn’t it ironic that some of your work that investigated first-hand experiences are only known by most people second-hand, through mass media and subsequently through art magazines and catalogues? How did you relate to this medialization of your early work?

CB: I didn’t do performances for that many years, maybe intensely just for four or five years, and then it had already started to become too much. The press was too distorting, and that was very frustrating for me. I could sit and talk to a journalist for hours, and I thought I was really communicating something. And then I would read what they had written and: My God! Who are they talking about?! That wasn’t the conversation we had at all.

MW: But haven’t you also consciously used the media in some of your pieces?

CB: Yes, I am not naive in that sense. Sometimes I have conceived works where I realize that it is through the mass media they would be seen by the general public.

MW: And would you see that as an integral part of the work?

CB: Absolutely! I’ll give you an example: The piece The Sailing Destroyer only exists as blueprints and as a model. It was never realized for several reasons. But if this old destroyer ship from the Second World War had gone out on the North Sea with sails, who would have seen it? Nobody! But my idea was that it would be on the evening news for ten seconds. So then five million people would see it and that would be the way the work would exist in a sense, through the television news. (…)