The son of an engineer, Burden’s fascination with the craft of building and construction grew beyond his early childhood years into his post-performative works; this highlighting a dichotomy between his childhood hobbies of constructing Lego models, to that of re-creating architectural kits as a professional artist later on in his adulthood. Burden was able to extend his child-like curiosity into his art making, bringing with him an appreciation for high risks, as well as a strong desire for a sense of innocence so many artists hope to prevail when they enter a new state of mind. Over time, Burden has shown that like a child, he is unafraid of taking on risky challenges, exploring unfamiliar mediums, and rewording ideas of the norm.
In further exploring this reminiscent of childhood play, this exhibition highlights an intimate relationship we as humans have when it comes to collection and desire throughout our different life-stages. From a child’s obsession for gathering toys to a collector’s need for acquiring artwork, the act of “collecting” is re-birthed again and again during our various life-periods: a kid gathering marbles, a teen hunting for Pokémon, and an adult collecting coins; stamps; antiques, or art. Regardless of age, we appreciate how the power of child-like curiosity can be applied to our everyday work lives.
Two distinctive sculptures by Chris Burden are exhibited at Shin Gallery.
Tower of London Bridge acts as a symbolism for an adult version of a child’s Lego toy bridge; and Warship gathers colorful, found objects from Burden’s collection of toys, motor parts and junked circuitry on to a wooden shelf-like display, to help expose an X-ray view of this vessel’s components. Burden purposefully re-creates these architectural models in larger, exaggerated sizes to help undermine the new possibilities of old ideas: the possibility to overcome the miniature in favor of the monumental. This is similar to that small-scale, child-like obsession that expands later into a grander professional habit. In professionalizing the pastime, Shin gallery stands today transformed into a modern day hobby shop.