Marc Burns: BOX
December 2, 2016—March 4, 2017
Artist, composer and experimental musician Marc Burns works with common objects, compelled by the question what creative forces give form identity? His sculptures occupy the peripheries of what one might recognize as a work of art. For this installation, he presents fourteen cardboard assemblages, intermittently wedged together, painted, inked, and installed at various heights. Through the window, the works read as a single composition, alluding to their second and less obvious identity as a musical score.
Burns selected the work from three series, created over the past two years, and each piece ranges in size from a small shipping carton to a large moving box. The painted and inked over portions deliberately mask written text that would otherwise reveal something about each box’s original use, including the names of the objects that the box once carried, its corporate sponsors, distributors, producers, warning labels and letters used in product codes. In contrast, any and all numbers are left behind. Shaken loose from these linguistic signifiers, the identity of each box transforms into something more. In the context of an exhibition space, they become contemplations on form, logic, design, performance, improvisation and lifespan.
The installation partially answers Burns’s chief question– what creative forces give form identity? The work demonstrates how a singular form can take on multiple identities over the course of its lifespan based on the force(s) that work on it. Burns, asserting the force and will of an artist, suspends the box’s death, at least for the time being. In his words, the boxes “divert from “work forms” to “art forms,” just before they become rubbish.