Sculptures and photographs that take as their subject defaced and destroyed monuments to dictators and deposed leaders are featured in an exhibition Monumental Misconceptions by Liane Lang at Hofstra University’s Rosenberg Gallery, September 11-October 18, 2013. The exhibition is presented by Hofstra’s Department of Fine Arts, Design, Art History. An opening reception will be held at 2 p.m. on Monday, September 16. Gallery viewing hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Admission is free. The Rosenberg Gallery is located on Hofstra’s South Campus in Calkins Hall. For more information call (516) 463-5474.
Monumental Misconceptions includes works made during Ms. Lang’s residency at the Memento Sculpture Park in Budapest – the resting place of discarded and exiled monumental sculptural works from the socialist era in Hungary. Ms. Lang’s selection of sculptures carries a subtext: The monumental statues of feudalism, the Prussian emperor on horseback, the mighty tzar on his throne, the eminent statue of Bismarck, were all deposed and melted down by Socialists. Their bronze may well have gone into the production of Lenin, Stalin and Dherzhinsky in the following years.
The works, both sculptural and photographic, address the role of scale in our perception of art. The statuesque subjects of her works are variously belittled (in their reduction to sculptural miniatures) or revealed as grotesques as Lang introduces her life-size simulacra to them, highlighting the absurdity of their heroic poses. The resulting original works thus retain the echo of the appropriated sculpture’s polemic message, but create room around them for humor and a strange and haunting beauty, born of empathy – for the mighty (however tyrannical) brought low, and for the very human condition of impermanence.
Liane Lang is an artist based in London. Born in Germany she studied at NCAD in Dublin and completed a BA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College followed by a Postgraduate Diploma at the Royal Academy, where she graduated in 2006. Her work is concerned with notions of animacy, which she investigates through sculpture, photography and video works. Many of Lang’s works examine museum objects and the biographies they attempt to narrate, modes of display and the verisimilitude of art objects, particularly figurative sculptures and political monuments. Recent projects have included residencies in Hungary and Latvia, where the artist used photography and animation to stage interventions with monuments from the Socialist era. She has exhibited widely both in the UK and abroad and her work is held in a number of notable collections.