In his 83 years, Wililam Burroughs lived many different lifetimes. He was a novelist, short story writer, essayist, painter, poet and performer. A significant figure of the Beat Generation (and probably the only one who had the literary respect of the whole movement), Burroughs has been a major influence on more people than you’ll realise and that could possibly be listed here: Andy Warhol, Gus Van Sant, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, JG Ballard, Will Self, Patti Smith, David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, Tom Waits, Hunter S. Thompson, Keith Haring, David Cronenberg.
You can walk into any bookshop anywhere in the world and buy a book by William Burroughs. It’s not very often in London that you can walk into a gallery and see an exhibition of his paintings. Welcome to All out of time and into space, a new exhibition of work by Burroughs at October Gallery. The gallery owners knew the artist and for this exhibition have collaborated with Burrough’s long-time editor. It features his paintings, drawings and a selection of his art objects.
Like his fiction, Burrough’s art is about transgression from the linear; it’s about corruption of the established routine. For a man predominantly known for his writing, his visual artwork retains the immediacy and the power of the mind under distress. He used the ‘cut-up’ technique, splicing together paint and various cultural reference. Always an arbiter of style, this is a show that sustains itself well beyond the initial burn of the reverential flame.
William Burroughs: All out of time and into space is at October Gallery until 16 February.