Victor Burgin’s ‘Photopath’ Unlocked Multi-Dimensionality in Photography 50 Years Ago. Now, the Work Is Resurfacing in New York
“A path along the floor, of proportions 1×21 units, photographed. Photographs printed to actual size of objects and prints attached to floor so that images are perfectly congruent with their objects.”
So read a set of simple, if ambiguous, instructions that Victor Burgin wrote on a single index card in 1967. When followed, the prompt yields a line of photographs that are exactingly printed to mimic the floor on which they’re installed—so much so, in fact, that it’s easy to miss them altogether.
This was Photopath (1967-69), an era-defining work of mid-century photo-conceptualism that still mystifies today, even if—or, indeed, because—it leaves its viewers with more questions than answers. Photopath is the subject of both a new book and a show. The latter, a dedicated exhibition at Cristin Tierney Gallery that opens today, marks the first time in more than 50 years that the influential artwork will be installed in New York.
Pic: Victor Burgin, Photopath (1967-69), installation view at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 1969. Courtesy of the artist and Cristin Tierney Gallery, New York.