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avant-gardes of the sixties and seventies
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ian burn




Ian BURN: Mirror Piece.


Ian BURN: Mirror Piece. 1967

13 sheets of photocopied text (and framed glass mirror).
Text: Sequence of 13 pages of notes and diagrams concerning the reflection and refraction of light relative to a mirror under different circumstances.

Text sheets: 27.7x21.5 cm each.
Mirror: 49x33 cm.

This work is offered in the Ian Burn's original display:
the thirteen sheets come in a booklet shape, sheets stapled under printed white cardboard covers. It is to the collector to untie the paper sheets, to buy the glass sheet and the mirror and install them on the wall.


Ian BURN: Mirror Piece. 1967





Installation method by Ian Burn (in one of the text sheets):
"Description of a Mirror Piece.
This work consists of a sheet of ordinary glass placed on the face of an ordinary mirror. The glass and mirror are of identical size and are fitted into an ordinay frame."

This copy is one of the some ones, unsigned and totally identical, Ian Burn was keeping to install the Mirror Piece on a wall.

- "Conceptual Art", Ursula Meyer, 1972 (p.93)
- "On Art", Gerd de Vries, 1974 (illustration n°19)
- Catalogue Paul Maenz 1970 - 1975
- L'art et son concept (Cornette de Saint Cyr, Jan. 90)
- Ian Burn Minimal-Conceptual works 1965-1970
- "Donation Vicky Rémy" Musée de Saint Etienne, 1993

Article by Barbara Poliness, 2002:

Ian Burn spent more than one third of his 30-year career overseas, where he was to have a key role in the development of international Conceptual Art. Often referred to as Idea Art, the emphasis was not on the work of art, but what it seems in the experience of the viewer.

Through Mirror piece, produced in New York in 1967, Burn explored the idea of looking and seeing, and demanded a new kind of attention and mental participation from the viewer. He purposely used common materials in this work to copy a household bathroom mirror. Burn felt that if the subject matter is familiar, then the familiar object, in this case the mirror, is seen but not looked at. This is further complicated as the reflective quality of the mirror actually denies the surface any observable substance. Instead the viewer, immediately confronted with his or her own image, cannot look past the reflection. To do so would require an ability to look at oneself seeing, thereby presenting a visual paradox.

What is it that we are looking at? By placing glass over the mirror Burn fragmented the image, the qualities of which he explored in the 13 photocopied pages mounted on card and framed alongside the mirror. Burn also included instructions on how to make the mirror piece, as he felt that, once the structure of the work of art was established, the idea could be repeated at random outside the artist's involvement.

From 1965 to 1970, Burn produced a series of mirror and glass pieces as he continued to explore how we see things. The growth of Conceptual Art in Australia benefitted greatly through the direct link created by Australian artists like Burn, working in New York.




We are interested in purchasing artist books, multiples, prints and unique works of art by this artist.
Please contact us.

Nous sommes intéressés par l'achat de livres d'artiste, estampes, multiples et oeuvres uniques de cet artiste.
Merci de nous contacter.






Jean-Dominique CARRE Post-War and Contemporary Art
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Jean-Dominique Carre

avant-gardes of the sixties and seventies

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