The COVID-19 outbreak has imposed restrictions in movement. As part of an ongoing initiative, photographers of Magnum Photo are sharing information and new work made in these strange and difficult times.
American, b. 1963, New Haven, Connecticut.
In his spare, enigmatic, mixed-media sculptures and installations, Tom Burr explores the ways in which we imbue the spaces and things by which we are surrounded – like clothing, furniture, or the patterns in wood – with our memories and emotions. As he explains: “I know that objects retain the stain of people and that our memory can be physically located out of longing or grief.” Though his work is grounded in his own memories, it is deliberately ambiguous, allowing viewers to invest it with their own life experiences. He uses what he calls a “focused spectrum” of humble materials and found objects, including plywood, old blankets and t-shirts, radiators, doors, books, and bits of hardware. By draping a pair of nylons over a radiator, encasing sneakers in yellow Plexiglas, or constructing stripped-down rooms, Burr makes his (and our) memories material.