Day 3/365 of Steel – Chris Burden

On our daily trip through the incredible story on the use of steel in arts, building and design, I would like you to rediscover a remarkable artist.

A picture of Chris Burden
Fig 1: Chris Burden
Photo: Courtesy of The Fabsric Workshop and Museum

The American Chris Burden ( born on the 11th of April 1946) is without doubt a pivotal figure in contemporary art. His performances in the 1970s redefined the possibilities of the medium; the sculptures and installations he makes have pushed back the boundaries of what is physically possible in the visual arts. This work by Chris Burden stands for multiplicity and discord, but also for decay.

The Chris Burden exhibition in Middelheim Park opened in spectacular fashion in 2009. Spectators followed live and closely the creation process of the artwork Beam Drop Antwerp.

Beam Drop by Chris Burden at Middelheim Museum, Antwerp, Belgium
Fig 2: Beam Drop by Chris Burden at Middelheim Museum, Antwerp, Belgium

Liquid concrete was poured into a square 12 x 12 m pit to a depth of 2.5 m, after which more than 100 steel beams were ‘dropped’ into the ground from a height of 45 m with the help of cranes and gravity. Performance artist Burden uses steel here in the same way as Jackson Pollock used paint.

The pronounced angles of each individual profile, the interaction between the different profiles, and the relationship between certain profiles and the edge of the concrete foundation, evoke a primordial force, both order (the measured planning of the execution, the illusion of construction) and disorder, even downright chaos (forms that collide with other forms, others that are bursting at the seams).

The sometimes rusty steel has something of an immovable skeleton, but also stands for transience.

Chris Burden passed away on the 10th of May 2015.


About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

You May Also Like

Day 19/365 of Steel – The Gherkin

On the 28th of April 2004, The Gherkin was officially inaugurated. Norman Foster (architect) and Ove Arup (engineering) created a true masterpiece in skyscraper engineering. The Gherkin is an example…
Read More

Day 2/365 of Steel – Roy Hofheinz

Roy Hofheinz was born on the 10th of april 1912. As co-owner of HSA (Houston Sports Association) he was the driving force behind the construction of the famous Astrodome. The…
Read More

Day 29/365 of Steel – Menashe Kadishman

Menashe Kadishman (21/8/1932 – 8/5/2015) I discovered Kadishman’s work during our visit to the Jewish Museum in Berlin.The Memory Void, one of the symbolic spaces on the ground level of…
Read More