This exhibition represented the culmination of Ben Morieson’s Burnout project, a series of drawing performances, initiated in 2001, which had toured in various states in Australia, as well as Germany, Switzerland, Indonesia, China and New Zealand. Appropriately, it marked the conclusion of a cycle that began at Gertrude Contemporary in 2000, with an exhibition featuring slabs of tyre-marked asphalt, framed in timber map drawers. In one light, the Burnout series could be viewed as pure spectacle: the audience watched from a grand stand as cars began to perform a theatrical display of choreographed manoeuvres. As the cars’ rear wheels screeched and spun, the rubber melted, leaving plumes of smoke, and an orchestrated sketch of velvety charcoal was left on the surface of the car park. As the smoke from the burning tyres cleared, the spectators were presented with a bold, abstract image. These gestures, viewed from elevated seating, could be seen like a signature, graffiti tagging, or the fluid flourish of a virtuoso. By taking these frenetic drawings out of the urban landscape and placing them in a sporting arena, the spectators were challenged to contextualise the burnout culture. Morieson’s unconventional approach subverted the expectations of competition implicit in this sporting environment, and presented art instead.
Morieson’s exhibition in the Main Gallery at Gertrude Contemporary consisted of videos and photographs from the preceding Burnout event - held in Canberra and commissioned by Canberra Contemporary Art Spaces and Arts ACT, as well as a unique customised Burnout video game console, in which participants could create and print their own Burnout drawings. Adrenaline and theatre fueled the Burnout performances.The Burnout events incorporated and transcended traditional notions of art and sport, street culture and I.T. Hype.
Ben Morieson’s Burnout 2004 project was presented by Canberra Contemporary Art Space as part of the ACT Government’s Temporary Public Art Program 24:7, May 2004.
Ben Morieson lives and works in Melburne, and has presented numerous solo projects including Burnout 2004, Sutton Park Driver Training Centre, Canberra 2004 and Burnout 2001, Melbourne Docklands; and Façade, cnr Smith and Gertrude Streets, Fitzroy 2003; as well as group exhibitions including Friendly Fire, touring throughout Europe and New Zealand, 2003-2004; Home Loan, Caroline Springs, Melbourne 2003; and Love Letter to China, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney 2003. Morieson has also undertaken studio residencies at Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces (1999 - 2001) and the Cite International Des Arts, Paris (2001-2002).