The Artist’s Eye: Liliane Lijn, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin.

March 2 – May 5, 2018

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.

You can view the film Look a Doll! My Mother’s Story here.