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The University of Southampton
Winchester School of Art

Research project: Barthes / Burgin exhibition at Hansard Gallery

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An exhibition of works by Roland Barthes and Victor Burgin. This exhibition placed side by side the little known drawings of Barthes, with new projection works by Burgin. The influence of Barthes on Burgin’s work is well documented, not least by Burgin himself. Equally, Burgin’s prominence as an artist and theorist concerned with text and image during the 1970s onwards offers a challenging dialogue with Barthes’ work.

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Critical Practices
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Roland Barthes’ writings continue to resonate with literary and arts scholarship today, yet the fact that Barthes sustained a practice of drawing and painting throughout the 1970s is little known. Only a handful of other public displays have occurred outside of France, but they have never been previously shown in the UK, despite sustained interest in his writings.

Since the 1960s, Victor Burgin has been one of the leading Conceptual artists and theorists from the UK working internationally. Often concerned with architecture, space, the built environment, memory and the means by which memory is physically and technologically constructed, Burgin’s recent digital projection installations can be considered as ‘photographs that move’. These works are not video as such, nor photography, but deliberate, painstaking digital constructions using current technologies.

The title, Barthes/Burgin, makes use of the slash or ‘dividing bar’ iconic of the structuralist account of cultural signs much associated with Barthes’ work. A publication accompanied the exhibition, produced by both John Hansard Gallery and Edinburgh University Press.

Barthes/Burgin was a John Hansard Gallery exhibition, curated in partnership with Professor Ryan Bishop and Dr Sunil Manghani, Winchester School of Art. With financial support from The Henry Moore Foundation.

This was the final exhibition to be held in the building that John Hansard Gallery had occupied for the last thirty-five years on the University of Southampton’s Highfield campus, before relocating to the city's New Arts Complex opening in October 2016.

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