In 1985, performance artist Chris Burden set up “a museum installation consisting of a 100-ton jack connected to a gear box and a turnstile. The 100-ton jack pushes two large timbers against the bearing walls of the museum. Each visitor to the museum must pass through the turnstile in order to see the exhibition. Each input on the turnstile ever so slightly expands the jack, and ultimately if enough people visit the exhibition, SAMSON could theoretically destroy the building. Like a glacier its powerful movement is imperceptible to the naked eye. This sculptural installation subverts the notion of the sanctity of the museum (the shed that houses art).”
Through the physical endurance of the gallery, Samson tests, on a conceptual level, the display and public consumption of art.
As both the random visitor and the art lover become complicit of the destruction of the gallery housing the piece, with this work Burden aims at questioning the role of the artist, of the art viewer and of the necessity of the art object in contemporary society.
Sorry for the bad quality of the video.