Kristian Burford

Michael Newall

Kristian Burford, Photo courtesy of the artist, 2001.

Kristian Burford, Photo courtesy of the artist, 2001.

Kristian Burford, Photo courtesy of the artist, 2001.

Kathryn who is thirteen years old, is staying after school at her grandparent’s house. It is nine o’clock on a November evening. She has escaped the company of her grandparents to play with her grandmothers’ cat, which is a queen named Lucy, by moving into the sunroom of her grandparent’s house. After some minutes of happily petting the cat it has turned on Kathryn, penetrating the skin of her left index finger with its fangs and raising three lines of skin on her left wrist with the claws of its left paw. In response to Lucy’s attack, Kathryn has grabbed at the cat in an effort to disentangle herself from it. She has been fortunate enough to find the cat’s collar with three fingers of her right hand. This has allowed her sufficient purchase on Lucy’s slippery form to remove the cat to the carpeted floor of the sunroom. Kathryn has placed her injured finger in her mouth so as to contain her pain and her blood. She has then recognised that she has wet herself and has, simultaneously, taken the finger from her mouth. 2001. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Artist Profile: Kristian Burford

Burford makes life-size, hyperrealistic sculptures of figures, installing them in often painstakingly constructed ‘sets’, usually creations of domestic settings. These figures typically appear naked or only very partially clothed, and might all…be seen as having in various ways lost or given up, if only for a moment, their self-control. ….

So far as Burford wants us to look at his work as if it is life, rather than art, he places us in an awkward situation, witnessing, discovering typically private sexual acts in an intimate situation. Still, it’s hard to think of this as voyeuristic since the depicted figures do not answer, even unwittingly, the gaze of the voyeur with their own. They are self-possessed, their awareness is directed inwards. Michael Newall

Kristian Burford received an Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship in 1998 and is currently undertaking the graduate program at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. He was a finalist in both the inaugural Helen Lempriere National Sculpture award in 2001 and the inaugural National Sculpture Award at the National Gallery of Australia. He was recently included in Morbid Curiosity at ACME in Los Angeles and will be exhibiting at New York’s 1-20 Gallery in April.

Excerpt and biographical note from Michael Newall, “Kristian Burford: Wish Fulfilment”, Broadsheet. Vol 31. No 1, March-May, 2002. Reproduced with the permission of the author and the publisher, Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia.

RealTime issue #48 April-May 2002 pg. 11

© Michael Newall; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 April 2002