Alberto Santos-Dumont is considered the father of aviation in France. He flew an airship held aloft with a hydrogen filled balloon to cruise the boulevards of Paris at the turn of the century. In 1901 he won the coveted Deutsch de la Meurthe Prize when he flew his airship around the Eiffel Tower. I have been inspired by the imagination and experimentation of Santos-Dumont.
Gagosian is pleased to present Chris Burden's Ode to Santos-Dumont at this year's edition of Art Basel Unlimited. It was the last work that Burden completed before he died in 2015, just days before its scheduled unveiling at Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
The first artist to be represented by Larry Gagosian, beginning in 1978, Burden was a radical and uncompromising figure with a fierce political consciousness. He ceaselessly probed the physical and conceptual limits of art to reflect on the surreal and precarious realities of contemporary life, first in performance, then in large-scale sculptures that are ludic, awe-inspiring, and deeply engaging.
Ode to Santos-Dumont is a fully functional mechanized airship modeled after the dirigible that Brazilian aviation pioneer Santos-Dumont flew around the Eiffel Tower. Burden’s highly refined and calibrated machine, powered by a hand cast and milled quarter-scale version of a 1903 De Dion gasoline motor, achieves indoor flight in fifteen-minute intervals, creating a meditative, kinetic spectacle. Ode to Santos-Dumont offers a palpable and emotional expression of the density of air, gravity, and energy required to move about the Earth, as well as the human achievement that sets it in motion.
Gagosian will also present a selection of works at Art Basel 2017, in booth B11.
June 12: 4:30PM, 7:00PM
June 13 and 14: 11:30AM, 1:30PM, 3:30PM, 5:30PM, and 7:30PM
June 15 to 18: 12:30PM, 2:30PM, 4:30PM, and 6:30PM
Chris Burden was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1946, and died in Topanga Canyon, California in 2015. Collections include Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and Tate, London. Institutional exhibitions include "Chris Burden: A Twenty Year Survey," Orange County Museum of Art, CA (1988, traveled to Carnegie Mellon Art Gallery, Pittsburgh; and Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, through 1989); "When Robots Rule: The Two Minute Airplane Factory," Tate, London (1999); "Tower of Power," Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna (2002); "Chris Burden," Baltic Center of Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2002); "14 Magnolia Doubles," South London Gallery (2006); "Chris Burden," Middleheim Museum, Antwerp (2009); "Chris Burden: Three Ghost Ships," Portland Art Museum, OR (2011–12); "Chris Burden," Magasin III, Stockholm (2012-13); "Chris Burden: Extreme Measures," New Museum, New York (2013-14); "Chris Burden: The Master Builder," Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA (2014); and "Chris Burden: Ode to Santos-Dumont," Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2015).
Curated by Gianni Jetzer, Curator-at-large at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, “Unlimited” is Art Basel’s exhibition platform for special projects including large-scale sculpture, paintings, and installations, video projections, and live performances.