Friday, 14 March 2014

Interview with Liliane Lijn

When Liliane Lijn (b1939) invites us to her studio in Haringey, east London, on one of the wettest and windiest days of the year, we come bundled up in jumpers, expecting a large, cold, warehouse-type setting, but, instead, we are met by an assistant and ushered in for tea and biscuits in a beautifully spacious, well-lit, and, more importantly, well-heated studio-cum-gallery space.

After initial introductions and the removal of our soggy outer garments, Lijn conducts a thorough studio tour, turning on each of the amazing and sometimes ominously towering works from across her long career, creating a gentle background whirr, and beginning with some early koans (imperial white rotating cones with slivers of colour slicing through them at angles) and a collection of Poemcons (cones with text carved into them, lit from within, similarly rotating), she progresses via fragmentations of the self (for example, My Body, My Self, 1996) and tales of singing to looming feminine creations (her Cosmic Dramas series from the 80s), to fragmentations of her Aerogel pieces, resulting from a residency with NASA in 2005. With all this talk of stardust and lines of light interacting in four dimensions (the fourth being time), it is hard to believe that Lijn’s scientific knowledge is all self-taught. She shrugs this off nonchalantly, however: “That’s all science is, really, observation. I’m just interested in it and so I read.” It seems that a lot of Lijn’s success comes from “just being interested”. Over more biscuits and more tea, we continue to chat.

To read the interview and watch a video tour of Lijn's studio, please go to:

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