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A.K. Burns’s largest solo exhibition to date considers the intersection between the human, the more than human, and the environment—and the value systems that guide our perceptions of each.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is the science-fiction epic Negative Space, comprising four multichannel video installations that explore the relationship of marginalized bodies to resources, space, and technology. Rethinking how we might approach queer world-building, Negative Space is a poetic work where the environment is the protagonist and performers act as concepts. Drawing on threads of current events, art history, and allegory, the project takes place in what the artist refers to as the “speculative present,” an imagined moment where boundaries are permeable, and hierarchies are thrown into question.
For the first time, viewers will be able to experience the complete Negative Space tetralogy. Each installation investigates a physical system: A Smeary Spot (2015), the void; Living Room (2017), the body; Leave No Trace (2019, making its US premiere), land; and a new Wex-commissioned work that completes the series, What is Perverse is Liquid (2023), which focuses on water. The videos include performers from Burns’s community of artists, choreographers, and musicians, as well as soundtracks scored by Geo Wyex.
Sculptures and wall works that build on themes in Negative Space, created concurrently over the past decade, will also be on display. A forthcoming catalogue copublished by the center and Dancing Foxes Press will feature an interview with Burns and curator Karen Archey, along with contributions by Mel Y. Chen, CAConrad, Megan Hicks, Aruna D’Souza, and Simone White.
A.K. Burns: Of space we are..., installation view at the Wexner Center, photo: Stephen Takacs.
A.K. Burns, What is Perverse is Liquid (NS 0000), installation view at the Wexner Center, photo: Stephen Takacs.
A.K. Burns, What is Perverse is Liquid (NS 0000), 2023 (still); video, 35 mins.; commissioned by the Wexner Center.
A.K. Burns (she/her) has exhibited internationally at venues and festivals including Palais de Tokyo in Paris, France; MMK Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt, Germany; and FRONT International: The Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art in Ohio, among others. Negative Space was introduced with A Smeary Spot, debuting at Participant Inc. in New York in 2015, followed by Living Room at the New Museum in New York in 2017. In 2019, Leave No Trace premiered at the Julia Stoschek Collection in Düsseldorf, Germany, and was produced with the support of Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. Learn more on Burns’s website.
A.K. Burns: Of space we are... is organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts and curated by Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions Kelly Kivland with Curatorial Intern Cole Graham.
THIS PRESENTATION SUPPORTED IN PART BYNational Endowment for the ArtsShelley Fox Aarons and Philip Aarons
WINTER/SPRING EXHIBITIONS MADE POSSIBLE BYCardinal HealthKaren R. LaneNancy and Dave Gill
EXHIBITION 2022–23 SEASON MADE POSSIBLE BYBill and Sheila LambertThe Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual ArtsCarol and David AronowitzCrane Family FoundationMike and Paige Crane
FREE GALLERIES MADE POSSIBLE BYAmerican Electric Power FoundationAdam FlattoMary and C. Robert KidderBill and Sheila Lambert
ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR FREE GALLERIES PROVIDED BYCoverMyMedsPNC Foundation
WEXNER CENTER PROGRAMS MADE POSSIBLE BYGreater Columbus Arts CouncilThe Wexner FamilyNational Endowment for the ArtsOhio Arts CouncilL Brands FoundationThe Columbus FoundationNationwide FoundationInstitute of Museum and Library ServicesVorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease
ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BYMike and Paige CraneAxium PackagingCampusParcJeni’s Splendid Ice CreamsPresident Kristina M. Johnson and Mrs. Veronica MeinhardNancy KramerLarry and Donna JamesLisa BartonJohanna DeStefanoJones DayAlex and Renée Shumate
A.K. Burns: Of space we are...