Touch Stone (A Monument for the Anthropocene)
A Work in progress project in the Derbyshire Dales.
The amazing thing about the Peak District are the traces left by the activity of people, digging down, building up, extracting and burying.
The activity of people here is so concentrated, so ancient and so layered.
A working quarry lies next to a disused one that's been reclaimed by nature. They leave an incredible scar in the landscape.
All these places can be a monument.
They are not necessarily memorials, but pieces of evidence which we can use to get closer to our past.
We're All In This Together
We're All In This Together
Inspired by the painting Studio Wall by German painter Adolph Menzel this work was first installed at Griffin Gallery in 2012 as part of the London Cultural Olympiad. A larger version of the installation is currently on display at Kunsthalle Tübingen in Germany as part of ComeBack.
Examining the artist studio Lang collected casts of heads of friends and other objects, similar to those found in Menzel's painting and created an animated journey around her own studio in Cremer Street in East London, a building now demolished.
Photographing statues of historic women across major European cities, this epic project has taken Lang from London to Rome and Athens and continues until the end of 2020. Hundreds of statues of famous women form part of the series, queens and saints, martyrs and scholars, writers and scientists. Lang's project is one of collecting and connecting across physical and temporal divides, the lives that have been deemed worthy of remembrance, the strange tales often associated with the statues, the politics of public sculpture and the curious difficulty of having a legacy.
Allegorical figures of women people the squares of the world, with fountains of mermaids riding sea food and municipal buildings sporting large ladies personifying all things good from justice to strength, from motherhood to the fatherland. Alongside her project Glorious Oblivion, photographing historical women, Lang is collecting pictures of women representing concepts. This multi layered and fascinating visual history invites the viewer to consider the complex relationship between the body, gender and ideas.
This body of work was created at England's oldest and most famous public school, Eton College in Berkshire. During a residency at the school the artist took photographs and cast impressions of ancient walls and furniture, staging interventions in Europe's oldest classroom and printed images on old benches, cast bronze and slabs of marble. Lang's project draws an arch of narrative across five hundred years of English history by focussing on iconoclasm, destruction, vandalism and graffiti.
The statues of the former Siegesallee were commissioned in 1900 by WIlhelm II and are conceived as a gallery of ancestry going back to the founder of Brandenburg. Already considered fusty and kitsch when they were created, these wonderfully detailed and carved marbles had a terrible time.
Nicknamed Neue Invalidenstrasse, street of invalids, they were already being vandalised while still in situ in the Tiergarten. After the war they were buried in the ground and dug up years later. Lang photographed them while in storage at Museum Zitadelle Spandau, creating a gentle send up of these statues, which speak of the mysogyny of their time and patron but also of a lost age of pageantry.
Liane Lang created a series of works for Enthüllt, eine andere Sicht auf Denkmäler at Museum Zitadelle Spandau. The works capture the fate of Socialist statues post reunification and the ambiguous feelings associated with public statuary. Like few other incidences in history this period made objects into a proxy for questions of power and politics and conflicting notions of utopia.
There is a link to the book in the Press section.
Liane Lang undertook a residency in Budapest in 2009, creating a series of large format photographs on a Linhof 5x4 camera. The images are of interventions with statues at the Memento Sculpture Park.
The statues in the park were rescued by Akos Eleöd after the fall of the Socialist government and are exhibited in a suburban field outside the city. Thus removed from their public spaces these bronze giants forlornly gesture into the surrounding countryside.
Lang examines Communist monuments and acts of political iconoclasm. The sculptural photobook incorporates patinated bronze resin casting and photographs of the artist’s interventions of life-like body casts with political public sculptures relocated to Budapest’s Memento Sculpture Park. Commissioned by KALEID editions and supported by Arts Council England.
Awarded the Birgit Skïold Memorial Trust Prize for Excellence 2014. Acquired by the V&A Museum’s National Art Library, MoMA and Lafayette libraries and the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection.
The series is based on life-like dolls that appear in literature, such as Olympia, in ETA Hoffmann's The Sandmann and Hadaly in Villier de L'Isle Adam's Tomorrow's Eve. The myth of Galatea is the story of an artwork created by a male artist into an image of female perfection, which then comes to life. The myth was popular in the 19th century. Liane Lang's images of life-like dolls appear in the process of awakening, of life flowing slowly into the un-living form. Her imagining of the doll is a sensual engagement with the notion of sentience and intent entering an inanimate body.
Liane Lang’s series of photographs refer to the stories of Catholic saints and martyrs. Rich chromatic hues, attire and insignia reference their aspects in the history of religious sculpture and painting. Hinting at narratives and patronage, the images oscillate between the macabre and humorous, the beautiful and disturbing, not unlike their medieval forbears. The images were taken mainly in the house of Gothic Victorian architect Augustus Pugin, a house which itself holds many references to saints and was next to Pugin’s lifelong project, a Catholic Church he built himself.
Casa Guidi Windows
Casa Guidi Windows
Photographed in 2010 in the apartment of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning in Florence, the place they eloped to from England. The titles are taken from poems Elizabeth wrote during this period. Lang uses her sculpted dolls, a likeness to Elizabeth, to occupy the rooms like spectral presences. The images reflect the quiet emptiness of spaces preserved for posterity, where visitors seek to encounter the spirit of the past, the absent body of the inhabitants, the traces of their thoughts and feelings. Elizabeth Barrett was an invalid and had to spend much of her days lying down. The enforced rest was also a space for contemplation, reading and writing and an avid life of the mind. Many of her poems make reference to the windows at Casa Guidi through which she witnessed the Italian Revolution.
Created at the Museum of Plaster Casts at University of Heidelberg, 2010, these interventions reframe famous classical statues and draw attention to their verisimiltude, presence and erotic charge. Lang explores the power of the figurative sculpture in this as in many other projects, its use as a tool for propaganda or political power. Her work with ancient statues draws attention to the object itself, which emerges from their original use and purposes as a thing in itself, through the passage of time.
Created at the Royal Academy Schools during her final year of Postgraduate Studies these images give new life and fresh perspective to the plaster casts created as teaching aids in the 19th century. Lang plays with the role of women in these image, somewhere between models, semi nude and provocative, and active agents, working and making art, the difficulty of occupying these spaces as a female is brought into play. Langs figures are also sculptures and so add to the sense of artifice and construction, remaining within the language of the art object. A number of works from this series are in the permanent collection of the Royal Academy.
Lang installs her figures in rooms that share both the mystery and the fakery of her dolls. Recreated Tudor splendour and modern convenience dressed in Victorian romance mix with a voyeuristic view into events that are at once ambiguous and evocative.
Follow this link to find a list of film and video works going back many years. Some have links to videos, many have not. If you would like to see a particular film, get in touch via the Contact page.
Zoe, 2003, private collection
Zoetrope is one of a series of kinetic sculptures made between 2003 and 2010.
These eerie images were photographed in a squatted building in Whitechapel, now demolished. Lang sets her life-like cast figures in the vast dark space with the residue of their making, the mould jackets from which they emerged. The strange langour of the figures and their suspension between animate and inanimate objects brings to mind the many histories of this dark part of East London. The weavers and tanners, the thieves and murderers linger on in the basement of this old house. The images were shot on a Linhof 5x4 camera with exposures of up to one hour, with images lit by candle light.