ABSTRACT

The Californian artist Chris Burden’s White Light/White Heat (1975) captures an experience of presence as processual and performative. Directed toward phenomena emerging in the interval or delay between expectation and appearance, Burden’s work provokes a speculation and projection toward his ‘performance’ in which the opposition between the space, action and presence of self and other becomes friable and unclear, yet in which the experience of presence unfolds in a distinctive and direct way. Entering an otherwise empty white gallery space, the visitor encounters Burden’s installation as a wide, white plinth suspended below ceiling level. On the wall of the gallery room a discrete statement indicates the form and event of the work. Burden’s contemporaneous description, issued by Ronald Feldman Gallery in announcement of the exhibition, has subsequently been published as its documentation and is thus reproduced here, as the artist normally requires, adjacent to the photographic record of the event.