Liliane Lijn – ‘I Want People to See Sound’ | Artist Interview | TateShots


Well, you know, all children make art, and
I just simply continued I grew up in the States, I was born in New
York, until I was 14 And at that point my parents decided to leave
and they went to Europe and so I went to school I went to a normal grammar school in Lugano,
Ticino, Switzerland After about three and a half years I decided
I wanted to go to Paris and be an artist in Paris, that was my idea Well I was a very rebellious person, I didn’t
want to be told what to do, you see So I didn’t study art Paris was the exact opposite of what I thought
it would be like I mean, firstly, they were all men There were very few women actually practicing
or visibly practicing And it was very, very difficult as a young
18 year old girl who wanted to be an artist to actually be taken in any way seriously Being a woman was… the sense is installed
so totally within your body that you could do two things You could say, ‘yes, I am body and I’m proud
of it’ Or you could say, ‘I’m mind, forget the body’ The cone itself is a very important female
symbol It’s not male, it’s feminine When the cones osculate, the more you look
at them the less you see the volume and that was what interested me at the time, is that
I was very interested in de-materialisation The idea of losing the body, and that was
related in a way to being a woman In the middle of the 1970s I realised, actually
it was after taking acid, I realised how important it was to ground oneself in the body And I realised just how important it was to
be physical So these three figures are self-portraits
and this one’s called ‘Lilith’, or ‘Portrait of the Artist on Fire’ I made it as an homage to all women who’ve had
breast cancer It’s also about feminine passion Anger, also Anger Fury, really I never really was part of a group I was interested in kinetic art but I wasn’t
interested in the movement of Kinetic Art I was interested in the relationship between
art and science Science I found very poetic I wanted to go to the root of things I wanted to understand the essence of reality
and that seemed to me to be it I had started working with kinetic cylinders Cylinders that were revolving And what interested me here was looking at
form in a completely new way So instead of walking around a shape or looking
at the way shape changes, what you see is a code transmitted by light and you see every
change on the surface of that cylinder I never really had this feeling that I absolutely
had to exhibit, or I absolutely had to have a huge career I wasn’t brought up that way, maybe because
I didn’t go to art school So we never thought of ourselves as earning
a living, we thought of ourselves as criminals I knew quite well a number of American beat-poets
who lived at what was called the ‘Beat Hotel’ I had the feeling that words generally had
lost their energy, their power, particularly the way they were used in journalism and in
politics So what I wanted to do, by actually spinning
these words, was to make words become vibration And so what I would say was, ‘I want people
to see sound’ I started making these clay pieces which were
about holding, and one of them was cast in Athens as an edition, with my gallery Rodeo And I called it ‘Holding Stone’ So it’s really about holding matter Keep holding it and feeling it I have to say, the most important thing for me is the moment of awareness and focus And so I try to make work that will allow
people to, if you like, still their minds Look at things with a different eye

12 thoughts on “Liliane Lijn – ‘I Want People to See Sound’ | Artist Interview | TateShots

  1. Thank you for this: I think I'd seen (her?) cone/s somewhere but had no idea who created them. She has lots of ideas, wonderful! Lucky her never having to think about making a living from her art, some of us have to try to…

  2. I love the idea of spinning the word so fast you lose its meaning. As someone studying graphic design, you realize quickly that whenever text is incorporated into art or design people look to that to give the piece its meaning. I'm always looking for ways around that, one of my favourites is to steal song lyrics, but putting text in motion is quite an interesting concept. Definitely going to have to research this some more.

  3. The next Late at Tate Britain, taking place this Friday 1st of March, is themed around Liliane Lijn. Find out more: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/late/late-tate-britain/liquid-reflections

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