An image of Systematically Altered PhotographsAn image of Systematically Altered PhotographsAn image of Systematically Altered PhotographsAn image of Systematically Altered Photographs

Ian Burn

(Australia, United States of America 29 Dec 1939 – 29 Sep 1993)

Systematically Altered Photographs

Not on display
Further information

'Systematically Altered Photographs' focuses on systems of knowledge in society and how images convey meaning. By methodically disintegrating pre-existing generic images of Australia using a photocopying process, Burn reevaluates the notion of originality and authenticity. This series of photographs eloquently realise the artist's exploration into art-making, language and representation.

Burn spoke about this group of works in 1988. He said "…imagery was reintroduced in ways which deliberately exposed its problematic status. In the 'Systematically Altered Photographs', the image was photocopied, then the copy copied and so on, for about a dozen times. The altered image was then juxtaposed with the original, with the readings drawing attention arbitrarily to certain features and details. The original image was cut from a magazine. There was no sense of creating the image, only of recreating it within a new system. The source was a promotional publication put out for overseas consumption by the Australian government…The clichéd character of the images was important". (Melbourne, 1988)

3 black and white photographs (reproduction from 'Australian Panorama', Australian News and Information Bureau, c.1967) and photocopy on paper, 1 black and white photograph
a - A; 32.1 x 27.9 cm; image
a - A; 55.9 x 61.4 cm; sheet
b - B; 22.7 x 28 cm; image
b - B; 55.9 x 61.4 cm; sheet
c - C; 38.1 x 27.7 cm; image
c - C; 55.9 x 61.4 cm; sheet
d - text; 55.9 x 61.4 cm; sheet
Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r. sheet each photograph, black ink "Ian Burn 1968".

Rudy Komon Memorial Fund 2005
Accession number
© Estate of Ian Burn