The Artist's Eye: Liliane Lijn
Gallery 2

March 2 - May 5, 2018

Kukwa, Helena, Moscow, 1919.jpg

The Douglas Hyde Gallery is pleased to present a new series of invited solo exhibitions in Gallery 2, titled ‘The Artist’s Eye.’ Acknowledging the crucial role artists play in influencing and shaping other artistic practices, this series asks those exhibiting in Gallery 1 to invite an artist of significant influence to present work in Gallery 2. In the second instalment in this series, Liliane Lijn has been invited to present her work here by Tamara Henderson.

Liliane Lijn is perhaps most renowned for her pioneering work in kinetic art. Since the early 1960s, and after the formative experience of carrying out her studio work from a plastics warehouse in New York, Lijn has woven her interest in science and industry into her practice. With access to industrial machinery and tools, and through studying the physics of energy and light, she began creating sculptures with technically accomplished interplays of technology and text. Her preoccupation with language and poetry as well as sophisticated material forms together impart her feminist vision of the body and the human condition.

In response to Henderson’s invitation, Lijn has selected a work from a relatively recent stage in her career. Look a Doll! My Mother’s Story (1998 - 2000) is a film which has its roots in a limited edition self-published book by the artist, Her Mother’s Voice (1996 – 1998). Following a disturbing dream, Lijn began to interview her mother, who endured persecution and forced migration as a result of the anti-Semitism and violence of Europe in the years leading up to World War II, and whose escape to America brought a painful loss of identity and sense of self. Look a Doll! My Mother’s Story continues the project of generational dialogue through filmed interviews with her mother, who was then experiencing the early stages of dementia, cut with photomontage and archival footage.

Reflecting on the lives of her family, Lijn has written of, ‘restlessness, homelessness, not quite belonging anywhere. The importance of chance, what my parents called luck. These feelings were passed from them to me and, even before my birth, formed my identity.’1 She has also described her sense of personal history and memory as deeply physical, precious but at times difficult to access. Compelled by the idea of film as memory held in light, Lijn uses the medium as a form of narrative sculpture through which she continues her exploration into feminine archetypes and the relationship between language and time.


Liliane Lijn was born in New York and is based in London. She currently has solo exhibitions at Rodeo, London and espaivisor, Valencia, and has had recent solo exhibitions in Summerhall, Edinburgh; One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London; RCM Galerie, Paris; Museo Civico di Santa Croce, Umbertide; and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Middlesbrough. Her work was recently included in ‘As Above, So Below: Portals, Visions, Spirits & Mystics’, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; ‘Beat Generation, Centre Pompidou, Paris; and ‘City Sculpture Projects 1972’, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds. In 2013, Lijn was shortlisted for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London and received a Jerwood Commission to broadcast her 1983 book, ‘Crossing Map’, on Resonance FM.

The Douglas Hyde Gallery would like to thank Liliane Lijn for her commitment and enthusiasm.  

1. ‘Liliane Lijn: My Influences’, Frieze, 30 May 2014 

Liliane Lijn, Look a Doll! My Mother’s Story (1998 - 2000), 60 minutes shot on Sony digital video, edited on Beta SP. Camera: John Bulmer, Editor: Michael Franks, Rostrum Camera: Ken Morse. Made with the financial aid of the London Production Fund. Courtesy of the artist. 

Image: Liliane Lijn, Kukwa, Helena, Moscow, 1919, photograph courtesy of the artist. 

Images: Liliane Lijn, Look a Doll! My Mother’s Story, 1998-2000. Installation photography by Denis Mortell.