William S. Burroughs

A major figure of 20th century literature and ingenious inventor of the cut-up technique, William S. Burroughs (1914-1997) has achieved iconic status within the American counter-culture, whose influence reaches far further than just the world of literature. He almost exclusively dedicated the last fifteen years of his life to painting, from 1982 onwards experimenting with a series of techniques including his shotgun paintings and subsequently combine paintings, that brought together collage, stencils, ink drawing, spray paint, painting.

True to his non-conformist thinking, Burroughs painting sat outside any form of tradition or pre-established set of rules, using what he had on hand: suction cups, mushrooms… on completely unexpected supports: cardboard folder sleeves, doors… Automatic works, random processes and found materials, the artist’s oeuvre is shot through with shamanistic thought and porous to invisible and magic worlds.

William S. Burroughs’ oeuvre has been the subject of many retrospective exhibitions in both the USA and Europe, at the LACMA, Los Angeles (US), the ZKM, Karlsruhe (DE), the Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (DE), the Photographer’s Gallery, London (UK) and the Espai d’Art Contemporani in Castellón de la Plana (ES). His works are included in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (US), the LACMA, Los Angeles (US), the British Museum, London (UK), the Kochi Museum of Art, Kochi (JP), the Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (AT), the Museet for Samtidskunst / Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde (DK) and the Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK), Frankfurt/Main (DE).