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Victor Burgin

Born: 1941 in Sheffield, England

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Over the past thirty years Victor Burgin’s work has established him as both a highly influential artist and a renowned theorist of the still and moving image.

Burgin first came to prominence in the late 1960s as one of the originators of Conceptual Art. In the 1970s his work consisted mainly of large framed photographic sequences, involving printed texts either juxtaposed with or superimposed on the image. At the beginning of the 1990s he turned towards digital video, but video from the point-of-view of photography – for example, Burgin is particularly interested in the relation between stasis and movement. As the historian and critic Stephen Bann has written: ‘this progressive exploitation of new technologies is itself fairly uninteresting compared with the remarkable consistency of the underlying themes and propositions of his work’. (Stephen Bann, ‘Victor Burgin’s Critical Topography’, in Relocating, Bristol, Arnolfini, p. 50.)

The philosopher Henri Bergson notes: ‘Perception is never a simple contact of the mind with the object present; it is completely impregnated with memory-images which complete and interpret it.’ Throughout Burgin’s work there is a constant attention to this space ‘between’ the viewer and the object – to the ‘real’ world as seen through the prism of narrative, memory and fantasy.

The exhibition SEEING DOUBLE presents Performative/Narrative from 1971, a work consisting of 17 panels. Like the majority of his works from the 1970s, Performative/Narrative combines photographic sequences and texts, and focuses on the relation between the semiotics specific to texts and images. The video work Alle otto. Solito Posto (digital video loop, 12 m 35 sec to reprise), which Burgin completed this year, has recently been shown simultaneously at the Museo Fotografia Contemporanea in Milan and the Galleria Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice. Through intertitles, images and a voice-over it invokes the two cities as the setting of a love relationship that has come to an end. In his video works, which since the 1990s have extended his work, Burgin directs the viewer’s gaze to the real world – seen through a prism of narrative, memory and fantasy.

Art objects of this artist

Burgin, Victor ◊ Alle otto. Solito posto
Burgin, Victor ◊ Alle otto. Solito posto

Burgin, Victor ◊ Performative / Narrative (Einzelansicht)
Burgin, Victor ◊ Performative / Narrative (Einzelansicht)

Burgin, Victor ◊ Performative / Narrativ
Burgin, Victor ◊ Performative / Narrativ

Burgin, Victor ◊ Performative / Narrative (installation view)
Burgin, Victor ◊ Performative / Narrative (installation view)

Burgin, Victor ◊ Performative / Narrativ (single work)
Burgin, Victor ◊ Performative / Narrativ (single work)

Burgin, Victor ◊ Alle otto. Solito posto
Burgin, Victor ◊ Alle otto. Solito posto

Burgin Victor - “Love Stories #2”, 1996, 1996
Burgin Victor - “Love Stories #2”, 1996, 1996

Burgin, Victor ◊ from “In Lyon”, 1980
Burgin, Victor ◊ from “In Lyon”, 1980

Burgin, Victor ◊ from “Office at Night”, 1986
Burgin, Victor ◊ from “Office at Night”, 1986

Burgin, Victor ◊ still from “Love Stories #2”, 1996
Burgin, Victor ◊ still from “Love Stories #2”, 1996


Education and teaching
Studied painting and philosophy at The Royal College of Art, London

Studied painting, sculpture and philosophy at Yale University, New Haven

Lecturer, Trent Polytechnic, Nottingham

Senior Lecturer, then Professor, Department of Film and Photography, Polytechinic of Central London

Professor of Art History, University of California, Santa Cruz

Professor of History of Consciousness, University of California, Santa Cruz

Millard Professor of Fine Art, Goldsmiths College, University of London

Residencies and Awards
US/UK Bicentennial Arts Exchange Fellow, New York

Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) Fellow, Berlin

Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) Fellow, Berlin

Picker Professor, Colgate University

Artist in Residence, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Distinguished Visiting Scholar, State University of New York, Binghamton

Artist in Residence, Adelaide Festival of the Arts, Adelaide, Australia

International Artist in Residence, Film in the Cities, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Artist in Residence, I.ME.RE.C (Institut Méditerranéen de Recherche et de Création), Marseille, France

Soros Foundation Center for Culture and Communication, Budapest, Hungary

Robert Gwathmey Chair in Art and Architecture, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York

BiographyExhibitionBibliographyArt objects


Current and past exhibition-dates and information
Sep 16th, 2006
Victor Burgin: Voyage to Italy
Mar 13th, 2010
victor burgin, dovedale

More dates:

Select solo exhibitions

"Dovedale" Galerie Thomas Zander, Köln

"US 77 et The Little House", Fondation Brownstone, Paris
"Hôtel D.", Le Printemps de Septembre, Toulouse
"Victor Burgin — Travaux 1970-1984", Centre Régional de la Photographie, Nord Pas-de-Calais

"Alle otto. Solito posto & Voyage to Italy", Museo di Fotografia Contemporanea, Milan, Italy
"Alle otto. Solito posto & Voyage to Italy", Galleria Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice, Italy
"Nietzsche's Paris and other Works", Kunsthalle Bremerhaven, Bremerhaven, Germany

"Victor Burgin, La Cinquième Promenade et autres oeuvres", MAMCO Musée d'art moderne et contemporain, Geneva, Schwitzerland
"Fogliazzi", Galerie Art & Essai, Université Rennes 2 - Haute Bretagne, Rennes, France

"Voyage to Italy", Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne
"Voyage to Italy", Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal, Canada

Cordoaria Nacional, Torreão Nascente, LisboaPhoto, Lisbon
Cornerhouse, Manchester

Arnolfini, Bristol

Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona

Architectural Association, London

Weimar 99 Cultural Festival, Weimar, Germany

"Rule Without Exception", New York Institute of Contemporary Art

Mücsarnok Museum, Budapest, Hungary

University at Buffalo Art Gallery/Research Center in Art + Culture

Center for Research in Contemporary Art, University of Texas at Arlington

Musée d’art moderne Villeneuve d’Ascq, Villeneuve d’Ascq, France

Film in the Cities, St. Paul, Minnesota

Institute of Contemporary Arts, London

Kettles Yard, Cambridge

Orchard Gallery, Derry

Albert and Vera List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, Illinois

Impressions Gallery of Photography, York

Zwiczek Polskich Artsow Fotografickow, Warsaw

Musée de la Ville de Calais, Calais

DAAD Gallery, Berlin

Museum of Modern Art, Oxford

Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven

Institute of Contemporary Arts, London

Select Group Exhibitions:

›Panic Attack! Art in the Punk Years‹, Barbican Art Gallery, London
›Erblätterte Identitäten‹, Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Leipzig

›The Secret Public‹, Kunstverein Munich
›Erblätterte Identitäten‹, Stadthaus Ulm
›Piktogramme - Die Einsamkeit der Zeichen‹, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart

›D'une image qui ne serait pas du semblant - La photographie écrite. 1950-2005‹, Passage de Retz, F
›La Photographie à l'épreuve‹, MAM Musée d'Art Moderne de Saint-Étienne
›Kontexte der Fotografie‹, Kunstverein und Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen
›mysteriös‹, Fotogalerie Wien
›Projet Cône Sud‹, MAMBA Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires
›The Last Picture Show: Artists Using Photography, 1960-1982‹, Miami Art Central (MAC)

'L'Art au Futur Anterieur', Musée de Grenoble, Grenoble
'The Last Picture Show: Artists Using Photography 1960-1982', Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
'Eblouissement', Jeu de Paume, Paris
'Artists' Choice', Institute of Contemporary Arts, London

'Blast to Freeze: Britische Kunst im 20.Jahrhundert', Kunstmuseum, Wolfsburg
'Sans commune mesure, Image et texte dans l'art actuel', Musée d'art moderne Lille
'I Promise It's Political', Museum Ludwig, Cologne
'Rapture: art's seduction by fashion since 1970', Barbican Gallery, London

'Notorious: Art and Cinema', Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (nachfolgend in Sydney, Tokio, Barcelona, und anderen Orten bis 2001)
'Media/Metaphor, 46th Corcoran Biennial', Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

'The Impossible Document: Photography and British Conceptual Art 1967-76', Camerawork Gallery, London, England

'Face à l'Histoire 1933-1966: L'artiste moderne face à l'événement historique', Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

'Hall of Mirrors: Art and Film Since 1945', The Museum of Contemporary Art/The Temporary Contemporary, Los Angeles
'Photography after Photography: defining photography through digitality', Kunsthalle Munich (and other museums in Europa and the USA)
'Text & Image', Frankfurter Kunstverein/Museum of Modern Art Bolzano
'1965-1975: Reconsidering the Object of Art', The Museum of Contemporary Art/The Temporary Contemporary, Los Angeles
'3e Biennale de Lyon: installation, cinéma, vidéo, informatique in Lyon, Musée d'Art Contemporain de Lyon, France

'The Art of Photography: 1839-1989,' Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Royal Academy of Art, London; Ministry of Culture of the Soviet Union, Moscow; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
'On the Art of Fixing a Shadow: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Photography,' Art Institute of Chicago; National Gallery of Art, Washington; Los Angeles County Art Museum
L'art conceptuel, une perspective', ARC, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

The Future of the Metropolis,' Triennale di Milano, Milan

'The Turner Prize,' Tate Gallery, London
'Photography and Art,' Los Angeles County Museum; Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale; Queens Museum, NY; Des Moines Art Center
'Écran Politiques,' Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montreal
'Berlinart 1961-1987,' Museum of Modern Art, New York
'The British Edge,' Institute of Contemporary Arts, Boston
'British Art in the Twentieth Century,' The Royal Academy, London
'Difference:on Sexuality and Representation,' New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York

'Photographic Image in Contemporary Art,'National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan

'Kunst im Sozialen Kontext,' Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe
'The Third Biennale of Sydney,' The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
'Three Perspectives on Photography,' Hayward Gallery, London

'Hayward Annual', Hayward Gallery, London
'Europe in the Seventies' Aspects of Recent Art,' Art Institute of Chicago

'Arte Inglese Oggi 1960-1976,' Palazzo Reale, Mailand

'Victor Burgin/Art and Language,' Musée d'Art et d'Industrie, Saint-Etienne

'Art and Politics,' Galerie, Bochum

'Contemporanea,' Parcheggio di Villa Borghese, Rome

'36 Biennale de Venezia,' Venedig
'Documenta 5,' Museum Fredericianum and Neue Galerie, Kassel
'The New Art,' Hayward Gallery, London

'Guggenheim International Exhibition,' Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
'The British Avant-Garde,' The New York Cultural Center, New York

Information,The Museum of Modern Art, New York

'When Attitudes Become Form,' Institute of Contemporary Art, London

Artworks in Public Collections that include:

The Museum of Modern Art, New York
The New York Public Library
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
The Tate Gallery, London
The Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The Arts Council Collection, London
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

BiographyExhibitionBibliographyArt objects


Sep 22nd, 2006
Victor Burgin in "Secret Public. The last days of the British underground 1978 - 1988"
Sep 22nd, 2006
New publication by Victor Burgin
Oct 27th, 2006
ARCO '07 from 15th-19th Feb 2007

More publications

Select Books and Monographs

Situational Aesthetics: Selected Writings by Victor Burgin. Alexander Streitberger (Hg.). Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2010
Components of a Practice. Milan: Skira, 2008
Voyage to Italy. Göttingen: Steidl, 2006
The Remembered Film. London: Reaktion Books, 2004
Relocating. London/Bristol: August/Arnolfini, 2002
Victor Burgin. Barcelona: Fundació Antoni Tàpies, 2000
Shadowed. London: Architectural Association, 2000
Victor Burgin: Robert Gwathmey Lectures. New York: Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, 2000
Venise. London: Black Dog Publishing, 1997
Szerelmes Levelek/Love Letter. Budapest: Mücsarnok Museum, 1997
In/Different Spaces: place and memory in visual culture. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1996
Some Cities. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press; London: Reaktion Books, 1996
History Painting. Buffalo: University at Buffalo Art Gallery/Research Center in Art + Culture, 1995
Passages. Lille: Musée d'art moderne de la Communaté Urbaine de Lille, Villeneuve d'Ascq, 1991
Taideteorian Loppu. Helsinki: Suomen Valokuvataiteen Museon Säätiö, Literos, 1989
Victor Burgin, opere 1982-1986. Milan: Le Case d'Arte, 1988
Victor Burgin: Office at Night and Danaïdes/Dames. Charlotte, NC: Knight Gallery, City of Charlotte, 1988
The End of Art Theory: Criticism and Postmodernity. London/Basingstoke: Macmillan Press; New Jersey: Humanities Press International, 1986
Between. Oxford/New York: Basil Blackwell, 1986
Formations of Fantasy. (co-edited with J. Donald and C. Kaplan) London: Methuen, 1986
Thinking Photography. Victor Burgin (ed.) London/Basingstoke: Macmillan Press; New Jersey: Humanities Press International, 1982
Hôtel Latône. Calais: Edition Musée de Calais, 1982
Family. New York: Lapp Princess Press, in association with Printer Matter, Inc., 1977
Victor Burgin. Eindhoven: Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, 1977
Two Essays on Art, Photography and Semiotics. London: Robert Self Publications, 1976
Work and Commentary. London: Latimer, 1973

BiographyExhibitionBibliographyArt objects

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