The sculpture Clouds by New-York-based Australian artist Ian Burns, comprised of aluminium ladders, fans, keyboards, televisions, umbrellas and magnifying glasses, fills an entire Gallery space. None of these store-bought objects perform their usual function, but rather are co-opted by Burns, enlisted in some instances to generate images, text and sound.

These everyday items, and the perversion of their functionality, nod to Marcel Duchamp’s found object, while also satirising our delirious attraction to so-called new technologies. As 2014 Adelaide Biennial catalogue author Ross Woodrow states:
“…nothing has the seamless slick quality we have come to expect from digital media, and particularly new media art…but when familiar objects are pooled into the reality effects of the screen image, the result is an undeniable disruptive beauty.”

Ian Burns is a Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow.

Ian Burns keeps a whimsical eye on the history of sculpture as much as he focuses on the low thresholds of wonder required to meet our expectations of new technology.
Ross Woodrow

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Installation view 2014 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Dark Heart featuring Ian Burns, Clouds, 2012, Art Gallery of South Australia