Ian Burns is an artist and post-doctoral researcher with Griffith University. He completed his Masters at Hunter College, New York City in 2003 and his PhD through Griffith University, Queensland College of Art in 2008. He has had solo exhibitions at numerous venues across Europe, the United States and Australia and his work is held in public and private collections internationally, including the NGV and ACMI in Melbourne, MCA in Sydney, the MMK in Frankfurt and the MAK in Vienna.
Known for his playful investigations of technological mediations his methods span sculpture, video, technology, performance, painting, and whatever works.
If my studio is a laboratory then I am the rat. Rigour in studio practice means risk taking, cultivating conjecture and pushing process. At the end of every maze there is a treat, or a zap. Either can work.
Practice led research only occurs when the practice and the traditions of studio rigour are given priority. Knowing that the process of making will find that unique clarity that only comes from creative discovery is a key and transcends any notion of a research question.
During my PhD research, and since in my ongoing investigations, I rely on creating difficulties, dilemmas and challenges to force the issue and bring instinct to the fore, allowing my engagement with processes and materials to clarify problems or issues that circulate from my background reading and thinking on potential investigations.
My recent solo exhibition in Vienna, Austria provides a case study. Beyond working away from the comforts of home, I gave myself no clear topic, only a couple of loose ideas for works to begin with and materials to explore and a production window of 4 weeks, with 2 1⁄2 weeks of build time. Out of this dilemma emerged a coherent and successful exhibition of 19 new original creative works across painting, video, sculpture, and new media that created a strong interplay between symbols of hope, power and the re- emerging traditions of oligarchy.