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Victor Burgin

Victor Burgin
Victor Burgin in Cologne, Germany, 2010
Born 1941
Sheffield, England
Nationality British
Education Royal College of Art
Known for Conceptual art

Victor Burgin (born 1941) is an artist and a writer. Burgin first came to attention as a conceptual artist in the late 1960s and at that time was most noted for being a political photographer of the left, who would fuse photographs and words in the same picture. He has worked with photography and film, calling painting "the anachronistic daubing of woven fabrics with coloured mud". His work is influenced by theorists and philosophers such as Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Michel Foucault and Roland Barthes.


  • Education 1
  • Academic career 2
  • Honours and awards 3
  • Solo exhibitions 4
  • Public commissions 5
  • Books and monographs on or by Victor Burgin 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Burgin was born in Sheffield in England. He studied art at the Royal College of Art, in London, from 1962 to 1965 (A.R.C.A., 1st Class, 1965) before going to the United States to study at Yale University (M.F.A. 1967).

Academic career

Burgin taught at Trent Polytechnic from 1967 to 1973 and at the School of Communication, Polytechnic of Central London from 1973 to 1988. From 1988 to 2001 Burgin lived and worked in San Francisco. He taught in the History of Consciousness program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he became Professor Emeritus of History of Consciousness. In 2000 he was Robert Gwathmey Chair in Art and Architecture, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York. From 2001 to 2006 he was Millard Professor of Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Burgin also teaches at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.[1] In 2005 he received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Sheffield Hallam University (Hon. DUniv).

Honours and awards

In 1986, Burgin was nominated for the Turner Prize for his exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Arts and Kettle's Yard Gallery in Cambridge and for a collection of his theoretical writings (The End of Art Theory) and a monograph of his visual work (Between).

Solo exhibitions

Burgin has mounted more than one hundred solo exhibitions internationally, since 1970.

Public commissions

2004 Restored, Permanent video installation for London Symphony Orchestra, St. Luke's, Old Street, London.

1994 Permanent video installation for the Médiatheque d'Orléans, Ville d'Orléans, France.

1994 Design for permanent video installation for the Hotel Furkablick, Furkapasshöhe, Switzerland.

1993 Venise, 30 min video, Ville de Marseille, France.

1993 Poster for 'Images pour la lutte contre le sida', Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, France/Agence française de lutte contre le sida: national poster campaign with posters commissioned from an international selection of 35 artists.

1989 Original print for ‘Estampes et Revolution: 200 Ans Après,’ Centre National des Arts Plastiques, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, France (100 sets of prints, commissioned from an international selection of artists, and distributed throughout France as part of the Bicentennial Celebration of the French Revolution).

1989 Fall, Video-wall [Edited version (9 monitors)], two-minute videodisk programme, Tate Gallery, London.

1987 Fall, Video-wall (36 monitors), two-minute videodisk programme, Mississauga Shopping Mall, and other locations, Toronto.

1976 'What does possession mean to you?,' color poster, 1000 copies posted in the streets in the center of Newcastle upon Tyne, summer; other poster works, various dates.

Books and monographs on or by Victor Burgin

2009 Situational Aesthetics, Leuven University Press

2008 Components of a Practice, Skira

2007 Objets Temporels, Boulouch, Nathalie; Mavridorakis, Valérie; Perreau, David (Eds.), Presses Universitaires de Rennes[2]

2006 Victor Burgin—Voyage to Italy, Hatje Cantz 2004 The Remembered Film, London, Reaktion Books

2004 Ensayos, Barcelona, Gustavo Gili

2002 Relocating, London and Bristol, Arnolfini

2001 Victor Burgin, Barcelona, Fundació Antoni Tàpies

2000 Shadowed, London, Architectural Association

2000 Victor Burgin: Robert Gwathmey Lectures, New York, Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art 1997 Venise, London, Black Dog Publishing 1997 Szerelmes Levelek/Love Letters, Mücsarnok Museum, Budapest

1996 In/Different Spaces: place and memory in visual culture, Berkeley and Los Angeles, University of California Press

1996 Some Cities, Berkeley and Los Angeles, University of California Press, and London, Reaktion Books

1995 Japanese translation of: The End of Art Theory: Criticism and Postmodernity (see 1986, below), Tokyo, Keiso Shobo Publishers

1995 History Painting, Buffalo, University at Buffalo Art Gallery/Research Center in Art + Culture 1991 Passages, Lille, Musée d’art moderne de la Communaté Urbaine de Lille, Villeneuve d’Ascq 1989 Taideteorian Loppu, Helsinki, Suomen Valokuvataiteen Museon Säätiö, Literos, collection of essays by Burgin in Finnish translation

1988 Victor Burgin, Opere 1982–1986, Milan, Le Case d’Arte

1988 Victor Burgin: Office at Night and Danaïdes/Dames, Charlotte, North Carolina, Knight Gallery, City of Charlotte 1986 The End of Art Theory: Criticism and Postmodernity, Macmillan Press, London and Basingstoke, and Humanities Press International, New Jersey (1986), reprinted 1987, 1988, 1992, 1993, 1996

1986 Between, Basil Blackwell, Oxford and New York 1986 Formations of Fantasy, (co-edited with Donald, J. and Kaplan, C.), Methuen, London

1982 Thinking Photography, Victor Burgin (ed.), [Burgin: Introduction, three essays, bibliography], The Macmillan Press Ltd., London and Basingstoke, and Humanities Press International, New Jersey (1982), reprinted 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987 (twice), 1988, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994

1982 Hôtel Latône, Calais, Edition Musée de Calais

1977 Family, New York, Lapp Princess Press, Ltd., in association with Printer Matter, Inc.

1977 Victor Burgin, Eindhoven, Stedelijk van abbemuseum

1976 Two Essays on Art, Photography and Semiotics, London, Robert Self Publications

1973 Work and Commentary, London, Latimer


  1. ^ Victor Burgin Faculty page at European Graduate School Biography and bibliography. (Accessed: 12 May 2010)
  2. ^ Boulouch, Nathalie; Mavridorakis, Valérie; Perreau, David (Eds.) (2007). Victor Burgin: Objets Temporels. Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes. ISBN 978-2-7535-0422-6

External links

  • Victor Burgin @ European Graduate School Biography and bibliography.
  • The Ubuweb-Anthology of Conceptual Writing Website
  • The Separateness of Things on Tate Website
  • Thomas Dreher: Intermedia Art: Konzeptuelle Kunst with two German articles on Victor Burgin (Memory Piece 1969, Park Edge 1987, Angelus Novus 1995 (English translation as PDF))
  • Victor Burgin Exhibition at Fundació Antoni Tàpies (2001).
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