May 21st - July 21st, 2022
Michel Rein, Paris /1st floor
Michel Rein is pleased to present A.K. Burns' 3rd solo exhibition after Glober Soot, Medium Rare (2020) and Any Means (2017).
Hand-ladled glass, mirrored with silver nitrate is embedded with various materials and burn-outs that disturb the ability of the mirror to reflect the outside world.
Instead they reflect an interior cosmos. Working with molten glass these mirrored reliefs are created through the interaction between materials that combust (such as leather gloves, old jeans, rope, pine cones, and paper bags) leaving an imprint in the surface of the glass. While other materials are used because they tolerate the extreme heat (such as copper, rocks and sand). These works emerged as compositions of distress, where the process of their making puts immense pressure on the combined materials, which at times, results in fractures within the glass. The works are repaired, sometimes to emphasize these stresses, as seen in works like Broken Window Theory, 2021.
The silver-nitrate, a material traditionally applied to smooth thin sheets of glass to create mirrors, has been applied partially or entirely across the rear surface of these works in order to play with the material and metaphorical qualities of mirrors. The artists explores the dualling concepts of self-reflection and narcissism -one ideally more self-aware than the other. These human impulses are systemically reinforced through new technologies like social media. Platforms of expression that increase in value through the proliferation of imagining your self, your experiences and your opinion. The combination of material disturbances, imprints and various orifices create a visual field that oscillates between being read as faces or as punctuation. Both of which are tools of expression, either in language or in the body. But these mirrors are actively working against 'you', against self-reflection and narcissism as it is a challenge to see a reflection through to the obscuring material compositions.
The title BURN OUT implies a dual meaning - not only the imprint left from the volatile material interactions that create these works, but also a psychological state of being that many currently feel. The 'burn out' from the constant barrage of contentious politics, ecological demise, economic collapse and a lingering pandemic. A state of being that feels deflated and is the result of an overwhelming sense of volatility. These works thereby perform as psycho-social portraits of our current state of affairs.
A.K. Burns, May 2022