Spotlight: Liliane Lijn, Tate Britain.

12 November – 28 April, 2018.

‘My feeling about science – in particular the physics of light and matter – was that it was pure poetry.’ – Liliane Lijn

Liliane Lijn’s rotating sculptures were at the forefront of early developments in kinetic art in Britain in the 1960s. This display brings together three large sculptures from this period. They use movement to explore the physical properties of light and language.

Her approach to making art is comparable to the process of scientific research. Liquid Reflections 1968, the result of years of experimentation, mirrors the movement of both particles and planets. Lijn’s creative aim was to capture light and ‘keep it alive’ within a sculpture.

Space Displace Koan 1969 is one of many conical sculptures Lijn has made throughout her career. She explains the title: ‘a koan is a puzzle, a type of riddle that you use to meditate, to empty the mind… the koans I was making were able to do that, they were hypnotic’. For the other ‘koan’ on display, Poemkon=D=4=Apollinaire 1968, Lijn numerically analysed the name of French poet Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) to find new words in the name. The resulting ‘word number poem’ makes a serendipitous connection to the first flight of NASA’s Apollo space programme, which took place in 1968.