New York

Victor Burgin

John Weber Gallery

The influence of Victor Burgin’s work has rested in its quiet insistence on a rigorously critical art practice, informed by interdisciplinary cultural studies, that recognizes Modernist painting as yet another encoding of capitalism’s master narrative of egocentric individualism. Burgin’s concern is with the relation between the individual and the social, and, in “Office at Night,” 1985–86, with those “subjective” responses to an image that escape critical analysis. Drawing on Roland Barthes’ reflections on the “obtuse meaning” of affective but nonverbalizable image details, Burgin speculates that such cryptic meanings are linked to the work of unconscious fantasy, where the subjective and the social are intimately related. According to psychoanalytic accounts, subjectivity is a formation by the social structure in the field of desire that begins in the Oedipal scene, a scene thereafter

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