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Dennis Oppenheim, b.1938

Reading Position for Second Degree Burn1970

Oppenheim made a significant transition in his work from Land to Body art in the early 1970s. This period saw the artist’s focus of interest move from the macrocosm to microcosm, from the earth to the body and its endangerment and to the body as a means of accessing the mind. In ‘Reading Position for Second Degree Burn’, 1970, Oppenheim lay in the sun for five hours bare-chested except for an open book on his chest. He described the piece as having its roots “in a notion of colour change. I allowed myself to be painted, my skin became pigment.”

MediumColour photography and collage text
Dimensions216 x 152 cm
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Donated by the artist, 2001
Item NumberIMMA.1348
Not on view
Image Caption
Dennis Oppenheim, Reading Position for Second Degree Burn, 1970, Colour photography and collage text, 216 x 152 cm, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Donated by the artist, 2001

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About the Artist

Dennis Oppenheim 1938–2011

American artist, sculptor and photographer, Dennis Oppenheim was a leading figure in the development of conceptualism in the United States. From the 1970s, Oppenheim created ephemeral earth works and was in the vanguard of artists using film and video in relation to performance. His work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum, New York, the Pompidou Centre, Paris, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. He exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1997 and was the subject of a major solo exhibition at IMMA in 2001. In 2007, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Vancouver Sculpture Biennale. — View Artist »