falling steel hits wet concrete in beam drop by chris burden
falling steel hits wet concrete in beam drop by chris burden falling steel hits wet concrete in beam drop by chris burden
sep 08, 2013

falling steel hits wet concrete in beam drop by chris burden

chris burden’s beam drop at inhotim
image courtesy of instituto inhotim © eduardo eckenfels




a construction crane drops 100 locally sourced steel I-beams from a height of 45 meters into a 3 meter-deep wet concrete pit for chris burden’s ‘beam drop’ — an immersive, site-specific installation at inhotim, a contemporary art center and botanical garden in brazil. the random fall of the metal creates an abstract arrangement that results from both the artist’s control and by chance. the violent clangs that resonate from the metallic blows juxtapose the vast, serene natural environment of the massive art complex. in its aftermath, ‘beam drop’ displays severe, vertical pieces of hardware protruding from the earth, translating into a sculptural art piece that envelopes the viewer in the rigid framework of its medium.


the video below documents the process of creating the sculpture ‘beam drop’ for inhotim, exposing the installation method of carefully raising each steel piece individually into the air by crane and then releasing them, allowing their free-fall into the wet concrete pit:



beam drop inhotim
video courtesy of pablo lobato



a view during installation as one of the beams is randomly dropped into the concrete pit
image courtesy of instituto inhotim ©  bruno magalhaes



 ‘not many artists have used steel. everyone is very careful because the material has so much potential for danger.
— chris burden



visitors to inhotim interact with the large-scale installation
image courtesy of instituto inhotim © eduardo eckenfels



massive pieces of hardware protrude from the earth’s surface
image courtesy of instituto inhotim © eduardo eckenfels



the metallic sculpture juxtaposes the serene natural environment of the art complex
image courtesy of instituto inhotim © eduardo eckenfels



looking up at the vertical arrangement of the steel I-beams
image courtesy of instituto inhotim © daniela paoliello


  • stressante

    jan bosscher says:
  • just shoot me

    dbkii says:
  • There is more art and thought in the video than in the piece itself.
    Randomness does not make art. It is the artist who CHOOSES the juxtapositions AND controls them.
    this is artsy-fartsy intellectual bs

    Paedra. com

    Paedra says:
  • Wrong Paedra.
    This is good – I would love to see this.
    I would liked to have been there in the process.

    Dan says:
  • I agree with Paedra. While the process is fascinating in its own right, the work is about what is left; the beams. If the artists intention had been process and performance the remaining beams would not be the work, but merely a reminder/remnant of the work and it would not be important to leave them in place in such a permanent manner.

    Noah Birch says:
  • This work functions very similarly to piece from Richard Serra. Early in Serra’s career he assembled a list of infinitive verbs like “to splash” “to torque” etc. from which he would demonstrate these actions as a form of process art. For example Serra’s Splash piece where he splashed molten lead against a wall. The resulting piece is site specific and acts as an index of the artists actions. Burden’s piece functions in a similar manner and even employs similar medium. Both artists are coming out of the same movements- minimalism and process art- and are exploring materiality and ones interaction with a given space. To say this is “artsy-fartsy intellectual bs” is ignorant given there has been entire movements dedicated to this sort of practice. It doesn’t have to be pretty to be art and who’s to say this isn’t beautiful?

    Michael Anthony Morrison says:

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