My work is an exercise in seeing the world … I want to feel alive in my work. I want it to breathe. I want its surface to be as skin, translucent, porous, emitting the fine moist heat of the living.
— Liliane Lijn

For over six decades, Liliane Lijn (b. 1939, New York, USA) has focused on the inter­section of visual art, literature, and scientific thought, creating an extensive array of works that include sculpture, site-specific installations, paintings, and moving images. Her body of work reveals a connection with Surrealist ideas, ancient mythologies, and feminist, scientific, and linguistic thought. A key focus of Lijn is considering how to visualise the invisible, using the latest materials and experimenting with reflection, motion, and light, as she explained, she wanted to “see the world in terms of light and energy". She conducted research into invisibility, using and exploring the visualisation of electronic waves, forces, vibration, light, and sound. As Lijn noted, “I wanted people to see sound”. 

Before settling in London, Lijn lived in Paris and Athens, where she was among a group of artists and poet friends defining the Kinetic art movement – one connected to space technology and cosmic spirituality. During this period, Lijn became one of the first women artists to experiment with kinetic sculpture, sparking a lifelong commitment to the understanding of energy. The materials she uses – unconventional and often industrial, such as plastics, prisms, and copper wire – are intrinsic to the ideas she explores, becoming the source in which she can experiment. The artist also predominantly works in series, allowing her to explore her complex ideas, experiments, and varied use of materials through iterations of the same work type.

Ausstellungsfilm | Liliane Lijn

The exhibition at Haus der Kunst is Lijn’s first institutional solo exhibition of this scale, presenting her painting, drawing, sculptural, film work, and installations. The show centres on her sculptural works from the 1980s, as well as a survey of her oeuvre, showing works from the late 1950s and today. Influenced by the second wave of feminism and her own experiences as a woman, Lijn became increasingly focused on the human form and the female body. In her sculptures from the 1980s, Lijn presents futuristic and female archetypes, part machine, part animal, and part plant, constructed from soft feather dusters, synthetic fibers, and industrial materials such as piano wire, steel, and optical glass prisms. These works reflect her on­going exploration of a new, feminine form.

This exhibition is organised by Haus der Kunst München and mumok – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, in collaboration with Tate St Ives. In conjunction with the exhibition, a monograph on Liliane Lijn will be co-published.

Curated by Emma Enderby with Teresa Retzer.

“Liliane Lijn. Arise Alive”. Exhibition view, Haus der Kunst 2024. Photo: Maximilian Geuter © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024
“Liliane Lijn. Arise Alive”. Exhibition view, Haus der Kunst 2024. Photo: Maximilian Geuter © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024

Liliane Lijn has recorded the audio tour for the exhibition herself. Based on 14 art works, she provides an accessible and charming insight into her working methods and the themes that occupy and inspire her. The audio tour can be listened to on your own smartphone or via an audio guide, which is available at the ticket desk.

“Liliane Lijn. Arise Alive”. Exhibition view, Haus der Kunst 2024. Photo: Maximilian Geuter © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024
“Liliane Lijn. Arise Alive”. Exhibition view, Haus der Kunst 2024. Photo: Maximilian Geuter © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024
“Liliane Lijn. Arise Alive”. Exhibition view, Haus der Kunst 2024. Photo: Maximilian Geuter © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024

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