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Concerning ConsequencesStudies in Art, Destruction, and Trauma$
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Kristine Stiles

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226774510

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226304403.001.0001

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Burden of Light: Chris Burden (2007)1

Burden of Light: Chris Burden (2007)1

Chapter:
(p.159) Burden of Light: Chris Burden (2007)1
Source:
Concerning Consequences
Author(s):

Kristine Stiles

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226304403.003.0010

This chapter examines how light figures in Chris Burden's art in a range of media, including Shoot (1971), White Light/White Heat (1975), and The Fist of Light (1993). Light pervades Burden's work, from the glint of a bullet to that light emitted by solar rays, fire, and electricity, and the refracted luminosity of materials such as glass, nickel, water, gold, and diamonds. His work with light can be sinister and foreboding, plunge viewers into pitch-blackness, expose the lethal and life-giving potentialities of light, and juxtapose visibility and invisibility. The chapter explains how Burden used light to contrast the spiritual with the dark side of human nature in the convergence of cultural and political affairs. Rather than producing art that is dependent upon sight for truth, Burden unites the conceptual illumination of lux to the empirical understanding of lumen.

Keywords:   light, Chris Burden, art, Shoot, White Light/White Heat, The Fist of Light, human nature, truth, lux, lumen

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