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Comprehensive exhibition at Deichtorhallen explores William S. Burroughs' artistic output
William S. Burroughs zu Besuch bei Brion Gysin, Paris, Oktober 1979. Bildreproduktion, Foto: Udo Breger, VG-Bildkunst.
HAMBURG.- Such works as »Naked Lunch« or »The Soft Machine« are what made William S. Burroughs (1914 − 1997) world famous as an author. A central figure within the counter culture and late 70s punk movement, Burroughs also remains one of the most cited influences over decades on artists, filmmakers and musicians alike such as David Cronenberg, Gus van Sant, Patti Smith, John Cage, Lou Reed, David Bowie, R.E.M. and Kurt Cobain. Many rock groups borrowed names and songtitles from Burroughs' works, the Beatles immortalized the author on their legendary cover to »Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band«.

Far less known, by contrast, is that Burroughs, as a cross-media artist, also produced a comprehensive, varied body of work that no less experiments with audio tape, film and photography as it does with painting and collages.

In collaboration with the ZKM Karlsruhe, the comprehensive exhibition »the name is BURROUGHS – expanded media« presents the author’s artistic output; it examines the multiple affiliations between literary and experimental image production, further augmenting the image by way of the representation of »collaborations« Burroughs produced in association with other artists. The exhibition gains additional appeal thanks to a series of works by contemporary international artists who each make unambiguous reference to Burrough’s writings and his method of »expanded media«, and thus, from a present-day perspective, sound out the individual pictorial potential.

The exhibition’s goal is to make tangible, in review and for the first time within Europe on such a scale, the visionary volatility of William S. Burroughs’ literary output while at the same time showing the impact of his ideas and philosophy on a wider network of authors, musicians, composers, painters, photographers, video artists and filmmakers. Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, Burroughs is more than ever considered – especially owing to the experiments he carried out in the 1960s together with painter, author, inventor Brion Gysin, with mathematician Ian Sommerville and filmmaker Antony Balch – as a pioneer of media art.





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