Henri Burgers beeldend kunstenaar | visual arts
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ARCHIVE  recensie | review : 1994
Alex de Vries - Henri Burgers' ideas
What can an artist do with empty, hollow, meaningless forms ?
Henri Burgers has an answer to that. Amid the waste of a thoroughly industrialised society, his archaeological excavations turn up the discarded forms of packaging of the consumed final product. Their function does not speak for itself: they are the casts of a worldview that can be found today in the most trivial expressions in electronic communication, cordless links and worldwide satelite transmission.
The images which Henri Burgers makes from the lack of function of the discarded disposable material are related to the art historical tradition of the 'ready made', characterised in terms of style by documentary realism and small-scale monumentality, and characterised in terms of content by the alienating poetry which proceeds from the inexplicable life that arises in dead matter.

In the case of Burgers, what is born is a worldview of a living architecture, a zoo of mutant guinea-pigs which have been implanted with the gen of constructivism. Besides the flora and fauna, a new life form takes shape, an artificial amalgam of a refilled emptiness.
These images of the high hopes of what the future has in store are amusing and saddening at the same time, and they are made with the greatest seriousness. It is the melancholy in which you feel more like laughing than crying in order to get a grip on your uneasiness.


Henri Burgers is a sensitive constructor, and his images have the bizarre simultaneity of intuitive creation and the results of scientific research.
The moulded plastic packaging of a computer mouse does service as a soap holder and the piece of soap itself, as well as looking like a scale model of a spaceship or ike the space invader of a higly developed rodent that puts pure intellectual ability right in the shade.


The accessibilty of the image is large, the possibilities are legion. Anything can be made: the polystyrene foam waste of the consumer society is Henri Burgers' lego. The dream image can be realised without any restrictions.


The reality of this utopian world of art is provided by the photos that Burgers makes of it. Like a landscape architect, he sets his images in the photographic image, where they acquire functions that are plain for everyone to see. As you move through this landscape of material ideas, the identity of each object changes, depending on the position you take up with regard to each independent image.

Perspective does not distort anything, but it means something.

Catalogue 'Ateliers Arnhem 1993-1994'