DRAF Study #18: Liliane Lijn by Amy Budd

We are thrilled to announce the publication of DRAF Study #18 written by the London-based writer and curator Amy Budd. You can discover her in-depth exploration of the work Cosmic Flares III (1966) by American-born artist Liliane Lijn here.

Study Series publishes research on works from the David Roberts Collection. A single work is highlighted, either in isolation or accompanied by references to complementary works by the same artist. Each text studies the work in depth, from its material production, to its position in the artist’s practice and contemporary debates.

“[The work] lies in front of me flat on its back on a table, presumably to prevent crushing the miniature glass bulbs dotting the face of the frame, reminiscent of a glamorous dressing room mirror or the footlights of a stage. An atmosphere of theatre and anticipation is implied. But it’s difficult to see fully in this particularly dark corner of the DRAF storage unit. In this gloomy light the vacant glazed face stares blankly toward the ceiling, resting against a background of marled felt. A lumpy grey electrical cable protrudes from a corner and trails over the edge of the table, connecting to a discoloured misshapen box, a prehistoric power transformer, which spits out more flex coiling down to the floor. The end is stopped with a plug; to the side on the felt table sits a small yellowing box of spare bulbs.” (Amy Budd, Study #18, 2019)

Through an extensive exploration of the David Roberts Collection Budd discovered Cosmic Flares III by Liliane Lijn and, captivated, she decided to focus her Study on this 1966 work. Cosmic Flares III reveals the aesthetic and avant-garde thinking of its creator, known for her unexpected associations of industrial materials and artistic processes, interrogating the relationship between light and matter. Lijn was recognised as a pioneer by her peers for producing an original body of work at the crossroads of art, science, technology, eastern philosophy and female mythology.

Cosmic Flares III is a kinetic sculpture that is part of a series of framed wall objects made by Lijn in the late 1960s. With these sculptures Lijn aimed to create “cosmic maps” that look at how the programmatic discipline of drawing (such as replicating organic spiralling motifs) articulates the same rhythm as cosmic forces.

You can read Amy Budd’s in-depth exploration of Liliane Lijn’s highly poetic work here.

Liliane Lijn (b. 1939, New York, United States) lives and works in London. She moved from New York to Lugano, Switzerland, as a teenager and studied Archaeology at the Sorbonne and Art History at the Ecole du Louvre in 1958 in Paris. Lijn began experimenting with language and movement, fully immersed in the post-war Parisian art scene in the early sixties, and gained recognition over the years for her kinetic sculptures, moving image works, performances, collages and major public sculpture commissions across the UK, including in Warwick, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Reading, Cardiff and Leeds. Lijn has exhibited extensively internationally, including at the Venice Biennale in 1986, and was artist-in-residence at the Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, in partnership with NASA in 2005.

Amy Budd is a curator and writer based in London. She was Associate Curator of Art Night in 2019 and is co-organiser of the artist-run space Piper Keys, London. She was Exhibitions Organiser and Deputy Director at Raven Row and has previously held curatorial roles at Chisenhale Gallery, OUTPOST Gallery and the ICA and has published writing in Art Monthly, Frieze, Mousse, Afterall, This is Tomorrow and Kaleidoscope. She is co-founder and co-editor of the peer-led publication A-or-ist, and co-edited with Dr Amy Tobin and Naomi Pearce the publication “14 Radnor Terrace: A Woman’s Place” for the exhibition 56 Artillery Lane at Raven Row in 2017. Her text ‘On Lunar Thinking’ was shortlisted for the Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize in 2019. Forthcoming projects include curated events for the London Art Book Fair, Whitechapel Gallery and an archival displayat Arnolfini, Bristol in September 2019.

  • Liliane Lijn
, Cosmic Flares III, 1966. Courtesy the artist and David Roberts Collection.
    Liliane Lijn
, Cosmic Flares III, 1966. Courtesy the artist and David Roberts Collection.
  • Portrait of Liliane Lijn by Mayotte Magnus, 1978. Courtesy of Mayotte Magnus / National Portrait Gallery, London.
    Portrait of Liliane Lijn by Mayotte Magnus, 1978. Courtesy of Mayotte Magnus / National Portrait Gallery, London.