Riflemaker, London

April – September 2008

Curated by Virginia Damsa and Tot Taylor

For the first time in history, stardust, particles of comets and burned out stars, has been brought to our planet from beyond Mars.  In a breathtaking metaphor of this revolutionary NASA mission, Lijn’s Heavenly Fragmentsimagine interstellar dust as space-time ruins with the surprising capacity to transform our perceived reality. This groundbreaking exploration of Aerogel, the untouchable, immaterial substance used by the Stardust Project as the collector of interstellar dust, forms part of a major exhibition by Liliane Lijn.

The exhibition follows on from the artist’s 2005 residency at the Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley and is a collaborative dialogue with the revolutionary NASA funded Stardust Mission. Since her 3 month residency at SSL, Lijn has worked with the assistance of NASA scientists to transform the porous, sponge-like material using moulded conical and cylindrical forms. Also at the Space Sciences Laboratory, Lijn met and videotaped Dr Andrew Westphal at work with his assistant on the Aerogel slices only just returned from Space. Under their microscope, she saw the 3 dimensional lattice structure of the material and the conical impact craters made by stardust in the small rectangular block of Aerogel.

Lijn believes that Aerogel confirms the physicist David Bohm’s vision of matter as ‘frozen light’. ‘I felt that Aerogel was a piece of the sky. The way it reacted to light, the impact cones made in it by cosmic dust, its net structure creating a solid that was also empty; I recognized all of these characteristics as part of the language of my work.’

To complement this first showing of Stardust Ruins, there is an installation of Lijn’s Koans, spinning luminous cones, conical forms in wood, plastic, ceramic, aluminium and steel using light, text, film and projected images, which show Liliane Lijn’s continuing interest and use of cosmic structures over almost forty years.

Stardust, a book designed by Julien Balme and published by Riflemaker in an edition of 1000 copies will accompanies the exhibition.

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