Victor Burgin

« Where else to begin if not with the first thing that comes to mind? I recently received some images by e-mail of book pages held open by the fingers of a person unknown. On the pages is a short essay that I am asked to agree to re-publish in a book on Conceptual Art. I have no recollection of the essay and read it as if for the first time, with the uncanny sense that a previous incarnation of my self is speaking to me from an inaccessibly strange and distant past. A second e-mail follows with a similar request, this time the pages are from the catalogue for a 1970 exhibition of Conceptual Art at Oberlin College, Ohio. Again, I have little memory of what I see. But I do recall every note of Paul Desmond’s alto solo on ‘These Foolish Things’, from the 1953 Dave Brubeck Quartet album "Jazz at Oberlin". Throughout childhood I wanted to be a musician, but there was no money for an instrument or for lessons. Paper and pencil were to hand so I wrote and drew pictures, on the same surface, with the same implement. I still do this, the computer allowing me to switch between word and image almost as easily as the pencil did when I was a child. »

These Foolish Things

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