new-york

Chris Burden

Gagosian Gallery (21)

As the oft-cited Michel Foucault has noted, in a society of generalized surveillance we do our own policing. In such regimes, power is not exercised but displayed, since its real operations come not from without but from within. Exploiting the fault lines of power and control, Chris Burden’s work has, in the past, invoked the internalization of perpetual but covert surveillance as conscience by recreating extreme situations. The notorious performances from the ’70s can he conceived as the deliberate and willful transgression of social and legislative codes: the power to inflict pain on the body, to discipline it or place it at risk. Radically attacking the social order maintained by the invisible, Burden forced a conscience internalized and muted as taboo to reveal itself through various acts of self-mutilation, reassigning to the body powers that society prefers to diffuse through the

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