Directed by Timothy Marrinan and Richard Dewey
Single screening / Slovenian premiere
23 January 2018 at 8 pm
Kino Šiška, Ljubljana
Ticket price: 5eur / 3eur (presale)
Language: English with Slovenian subtitles
With the screening of BURDEN, an experimental documentary about Chris Burden by Timothy Marrinan and Richard Dewey, Aksioma continues and upgrades a support activity we have been investing on along the last five years: the screening of art films with a strong educational and documentary character, presented in Slovenia for the first time, and focused on the foundational processes, art groups, artists and projects that have marked and/or shifted the currents in world art. BURDEN fits perfectly within this tradition.
Chris Burden (1946–2015) is one of the greatest icons of post-war performance art – named for instance by Marina Abramović as a key reference for her own art practice. Burden guaranteed his place in art history in early 1970s with a series of controversial and often dangerous performances. After having himself shot, locked up in a locker for five days, electrocuted, and crucified on the back of a VW bug, he reinvented himself as the creator of truly mesmerizing installations and sculptures. Burden understood his performances as sculptures, whose key “sculpting” material was his own body, which he subjected to various tests and experiments. The body and corporeality in contemporary performance art have never been the same ever since. Burden became an inspiration for many artists of subsequent generations, spanning from Laurie Anderson to David Bowie.
In BURDEN, Marrinan and Dewey look at the artist’s works and private life with an innovative mix of still-potent videos of his 70s performances, personal videos and audio recordings, interviews with friends, fellows students and colleagues, critics’ comments and latter day footage at his studio, all peppered with his thoughts and musings through the years.The film also reveals the backstage of the Los Angeles art scene, which in the early 1970s was somehow distanced and neglected compared to New York or some of Europe’s capitals. Precisely because of this marginality, the West Coast of the United States became the centre of experimental art, which later on shifted the boundaries of self-articulation and self-organisation of art throughout the world.
BURDEN is the first feature documentary exploring the life and work of pioneering artist Chris Burden. In the early 1970s, Burden’s provocative, often dangerous, performance pieces shook the conventional art world. He had himself shot, crawled through a field of broken glass, and attempted to breathe water. He was dubbed “The Evel Knievel of the art world” by the press – a label he would struggle to overcome for most of his career. Burden quit performance in the late 70s and artistically reinvented himself. He went on to create a multitude of installations and sculptures. His work has influenced a generation of artists and been exhibited around the world. Using unprecedented access to Burden’s archive as well as candid footage filmed with the artist in the final years of his life, this film documents Burden’s shifting motivations and his transition away from the spotlight of performance towards a quieter and more civic minded art-making practice.
Directed by: Tim Marrinan, Richard Dewey
Editors: Aaron Wickenden, Michael Aaglund
Producers / Sales Agent: Submarine Entertainment, Dogwoof Films
Featuring: Chris Burden, Marina Abramovic, Ed Ruscha, Ed Moses, Larry Bell, Larry Gagosian, Robert Irwin, Alexis Smith, Frank Gehry, John McEnroe, Vito Acconci, Peter Schjeldahl, Christopher Knight, Jonathan Gold, Paul Schimmel, Billy Al Bengston, Barbara Smith, Brian Sewell, David Neuman, Peter Plagens and Stanley Grinstein.
Full Cast & Crew.
Tim Marrinan is a documentary filmmaker based in the UK. His past work has often focussed on aspects of art and culture and he’s drawn to stories with compelling characters and strong visual appeal. ‘Burden’ is his first feature documentary. He studied film and social theory at Harvard University.
Richard Dewey is a writer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. His student film, The Leisure Class, was recently turned into a feature film produced by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as part of Project Greenlight, which was won by Rich’s classmate Jason Mann. Rich has worked as a freelance writer for RollingStone.com, Ralph Lauren Magazine, Whitewall Modern Painters and also spent six months as the Marjorie Dean correspondent writing for The Economist at their London headquarters. Rich has an MFA in Film from Columbia University.
Production of the event:
Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, and the Center for Urban Culture Kino Šiška, 2017
the Municipality of Ljubljana