Ian Burn
Blue Reflex, 1966/67

For the decade from 1967-1977 Ian Burn was a central figure in events and activities of Conceptual Art. This involved exhibiting individually and collectively (with Art & Language, New York, between 1970-76) in many key exhibitions, as well as curating and writing on art. The Blue Reflex works were Ian Burn’s last abstract pictorial objects, originating immediately before his conceptual phase, in which he rejected completely the use of color. The image ‘mirrors’ various different artistic sketches from the 1960s: in local terms, the color blue has particular significance in the history of Australian painting; and in international terms, Burn makes reference to the legendary ‘International Klein Blue’ by Yves Klein and the reduced object art of American minimalism. A political sideswipe is detectable in Burn’s comment that his work features car lacquer used by the US armed forces during the Second World War to spray their trucks. The surface appears to have been created by means of an industrial application, although it was in reality hand-sprayed by the artist. “The surface is unimportant, pure chance, and remains intact only as a reflex […] the reflex is what gives the image its scale.” (I. B.)

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