ian burns: Extended stage

Goods Line Tunnel under Wembly House, Ultimo | 8 – 17 April 2014
Curator: Holly Williams

About the exhibition:

Inventive New York-based Australian artist, Ian Burns was UTS Gallery’s 2014 Artist-in-Residence. Preoccupied with that revealing moment when we experience the beautiful and the ridiculous at the same time, he creates curious and playful kinetic assemblages that combine mass-produced domestic objects with intricate electronics, sound and light.

Over eleven weeks, Burns has took over UTS Gallery, using part of it to present his first solo exhibition in Sydney, Too Much Is Real and transforming the remainder into an intensive studio space. His residency culminated in a charismatic new body of work developed especially for the Goods Line Tunnel and its 1853 sandstone bridge. Intertwining unexpected phenomena with a wry mix of new media and nostalgia, the project draws on the atmosphere and history of this overlooked site.

“Extended Stage creates moments of small spectacle around a rare opportunity for the viewer to explore an unusual space, in the end creating a spectacle of the process of investigation itself.”

This was the first time the Goods Line Tunnel had been used for a creative purpose with public access and over the short run of the project received almost 5,000 visitors. As the tunnel was technically still part of the live rail network and required substantial negotiations between the the owner of Wembly House, Sydney Trains, Railcorp’s Rail Corridor Management Group, UTS, SHFA, City of Sydney both as Planner and Principal Certifying Authority, the artist, construction contractors and specialist advisers on electrical safety. In addition to acting as curator, Holly Williams played the leading role in securing access to the site both through drafting the relevant documents including the Development Application, Visitor and Risk Management Plans.

Ian Burns was born in Newcastle, NSW in 1964. Internationally recognised, he has held solo exhibitions in Dublin, Vienna, St. Louis, New York, Melbourne, Hobart, Paris and Madrid. Recent group exhibitions include Dark Heart 2014 Adelaide Biennale,  In the Telling, ACMI, Melbourne, the Liege Biennial in Belgium (2012), the Anne Landa Award at the AGNSW (2011) and Housebroken at the Flux Factory, New York (2010). His work is included in public collections, including the Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main; the MCA, Sydney; the Berge Collection, Spain; the Chartwell Collection, Auckland; and the 21C Museum, Louisville, Kentucky.  He is a current recipient of a Queensland College of Art, Griffith University Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship and is represented by Anna Schwartz Gallery and mother’s tankstation, Dublin.