As you enter through the doors of the former industrial building, It feels like one of those very expensive garages where your car will be serviced by men wearing white gloves. But there are only two vehicles here, both beautifully restored. One, a 1974 Porsche 914, is held in mid-air perfectly balanced by a 390lb meteorite; the other, a 1964 F350 crane-truck, is balanced with a 1 ton cast-iron cube.
The American artist Chris Burden was a bit of a character and pushed ideas of art to the limits. In the early 1970′s he challenged his own mental and physical limitations by works that sought to raise awareness of violence in American society and using his own body to create performance art. His Master’s thesis at the University of California was shutting himself in a locker for five days without food, with a 5-gallon container of water above him and a 5-gallon container of water below him (for waste).
His most famous work is possibly being shot in his arm: “I had an intuitive sense that being shot is as American as apple pie. We see people being shot on TV, we read about it in the newspaper. Everybody has wondered what it’s like. So I did it.”
Perhaps because his early university studies were in physics and architecture, and his father was an engineer, his later works involved pushing the limits of movement, physics and engineering, most famously with The Flying Steamroller in which a 12 ton steamroller was hung from a metal arm with a counter-weight at the other end. Every half hour the steam roller was driven until hydraulic lifts enabled the counter-weight to lift the steam roller off of the ground, creating a tension between what a steam roller is supposed to do (push downwards), and what it was now doing (flying upwards).
The two of his works on show in ‘Measured’ at the Gagosian follow the same theme, though calmer and more subtle