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Mr David Burrows
Slade School of Fine Art
Gower Street
  • Reader of Fine Art
  • The Slade School of Fine Art
  • Faculty of Arts & Humanities

David Burrows is an artist and writer interested in notions and concepts of the new in sacred, mass and avant-garde cultures. He studied at Goldsmiths College and graduated in 1994. He was selected for Becks Futures in 2001 and received a Paul Hamlyn Visual Artists Award in 2003. His current practice addresses the production of fiction as a transformative process as well as notions of impermanence and immanence, developing interests explored in earlier work that addressed violence, destruction, crisis and disorientation as structural elements in sacred, mass media and avant-garde cultures. 

David Burrows has published essays and reviews in magazines and journals including Art Monthly, Variant, Mute, Angelaki, New Left Review and catalogue essays for DJ Simpson, Jemima Stheli and Mark Wallinger and Manuel Ocampo. He has edited anumber of books of collected essays including 'Whose Afraid of Red, White andBlue' 1998, 'Making a Scene' (with Henry Rogers) 2001 and 'Performance Fictions' 2011 all addressing art, performance, scenes and politics, and all published by Article Press. 

As well as establishing a solo art practice he often works in collaboration. Past collaborations include exhibitions with the artists' group BANK, Bob & Roberta Smith and DJ Simpson. Since 2005, he has collaborated with Simon O’Sullivan to address the relation of aesthetics, politics and the sacred through the 'performance-fiction' Plastique Fantastique. Through the production of events, films, comics, writing, installations and artifacts, Plastique Fantastique (a group of human and inhuman avatars) deliver communiqués from the extreme past and future that are baroque, express a subversive urgency and are frequently participatory. 'First Manifesto of Plastique Fantastique’ proposes a practice that moves participants “from work time (utility) into sacred time (play)” by executing practice as ritual and performance. 

Before taking up the post of Head of Undergradute Fine Art Media at the Slade School of Fine Art in 2010, he was Reader in Fine Art at Birmingham City University, where he worked in the School of Art from 1997 and where he coordinated Fine Art Research. 

David Burrows has exhibited extensively in the UK and abroad including Chisenhale Gallery London, Arts Space Sidney, Mori Art Museum Tokyo, Frederieke TaylorGallery New York, Galerie Praz-Delavallade Paris. He has participated in the 2010 Tatton Biennial and 'Event Horizon' at the Royal Academy of the Arts, London (with Simon O’Sullivan). In 2003 he exhibited in the British Council survey exhibition 'Macro/Micro: British Art 1996 – 2002', Kunsthalle Budapest. David Burrows and the collaboration Plastique Fantastique are represented by IMT Gallery in London. 

Research Summary

I work individually and in collaboration to explore notions and concepts of the new in avant garde, utopian, sacred and mass media cultures. A second research concern is the investigation of the ways in which fiction and performance are transformative processes or processes through which worlds and relations are formed and maintained. This research draws upon continental philosophy and theories concerned with subjectivity, ontology and performance and performativity. I am interested in the ways that art and other social and cultural formations can be understood as residual or emergent cultures that resist, escape or open up different orientations to the dominant organisations of everyday life. In relation to this, exploring the legacy of the avant garde and the role of scenes in developing new orientations has been an ongoing concern, both as an object of study and as an aspect of my art practice, collaborations and curatorial projects. These research concerns have developed from earlier work that addressed the ways that impermanence and immanence, violence, destruction, crisis and disorientation are important structural elements in popular and mass culture and avant-garde culture.  A corollary of these concerns is an interest in art and writing and the ways in which writing is an aspect of art practice. This interest relates to my recent research concerned with the diagrammatic, and art as a diagrammatic presentation or practice that escapes or is captured by discursive regimes. Since 2005, I have collaborated with Simon O'Sullivan on the 'performance fiction' Plastique Fantastique, which explores the relation of art, politics and the sacred. Through the production of events, films, comics, writing, installations and artifacts, Plastique Fantastique (a group of human and inhuman avatars) deliver communiqués from the extreme past and future that are baroque, express a subversive urgency and are frequently participatory. The 'First Manifesto of Plastique Fantastique’ proposes a practice that moves participants “from work time (utility) into sacred time (play)” by executing practice as ritual and performance. 

Recent exhibitions include:'Night is also a Sun', IMT Gallery London 2012; 'The Diagram: Blackboard Series' Banner Repeater London and Torna Istanbul 2011; 'We are grammar' Pratt Gallery New York 2011; 2010 Tatton Park Biennial; ‘Event Horizon’ at the Royal Academy of the Arts, London. Recent published writing: 'Performance Fiction', Article Press and Mute (2011) 'An art scene as big as the Ritz: the logics of scenes' in ‘Deleuze & Contemporary Art’, Edinburgh University Press (2010), 'The Chymical Wedding: Masochism and Performance', Angelaki (2010 with Simon O’Sullivan) and 'Readymades, Lavender Mist and Mirror Travel' in ‘Deleuze, Guattari and the Production of the New’, Continuum (2009). 

Teaching Summary

I am Head of Undergraduate Fine Art Media at the Slade School of Fine Art, teaching practical and theoretical aspects of Fine Art.  I have taught undergraduates, graduates and research students, supervising two doctoral students to completion.

Academic Background
1994 MA Master of Arts – Fine Art Goldsmiths College
1988 BA Hons Bachelor of Arts (Honours) – Fine Art  
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