Andreas Weiland


1 - An installation evocative of time passing ?

I have recently seen a surprising work of art. It's a circle, parted by its diameter in the middle, constructed perhaps in a way that is a bit complicated. For this is not an abstract circle; it is a circle made of sand or some such material that is very fragile, very uneven, very fascinating and rich in its complexity. It's a sort of  cake, the way children make it, attached to a load-bearing support, perhaps made of glass, which is also round and a bit elevated: between earth and sky (or the ceiling), thanks to a supportive pillar made of the same material. A constructive idea which takes considerable courage. 

As one sees, this entire construction incorporates an opposition: There is the technologically modern support which is clear,  constructivist, abstract. And the cake,  made of sand. Which seems mystic, like the Greek ómphalos, the umbilicus, archetypal image of all ORIGIN. And which, simultaneously, appears like a mixture of the abstract (the circular, the abstract form of the circle!) and the irregular, almost organic (a quality of sand). 

   installation by Leen Lybeer

This strange object has been (dis-)placed into an irritating situation: it is surrounded by a brick wall, its archaic appearance -  while the floor of this place is probably covered by sand, as well. What does it mean? For me, the evocation of the image of an excavation site is very present. The installation is charged with energy because of its montage of opposite elements: the ancient, represented by the impression that one is seeing an ancient location that has been excavated - and the modern, suggested by the clear and rational support made of glass. And given with this support, placed on this very structure, there is the thing made of sand - simulation of an exhibited objet trouvé, which is certainly breathing an archaic spirit. 
The irritation caused is considerable; the past is present; but modernity is also present. This very modern work of art, this installation has integrated an element that is ancient or that is about to turn ancient, a fragile moment (to put it differently) which, by its tenderness and vulnerability, must evoke the consciousness, the realization  of the awareness that everything modern must turn ancient, in another time, in our future.

2 - Tennis Court Art. Another installation by Leen Lybeer

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        The old tennis court site, transformed into 
        land art. An installation by Leen Lybeer

This is a mystic form, a magical form which I have discovered in the midst of a strange nature, a sort of virginal forest where a small clearing is visible. Much of this clearing seems to be blue almost, it is of a blue verging on lilac, and the contrast with the green of the surrounding trees, a dark green, and the other green which is a light one, is of great beauty.  The blue form appears as a contrast in another sense, too. It is abstract and, on first sight, because of its homogenous color,  it appears like a man-made substance: artificial and, by consequence, not organic like the trees or a clearance. It is limited by a metal band that is a bit shiny, which accentuates the impression of seeing a non-organic object.  But all this is only a first impression. An impression which certainly incorporates a moment of truth but which ignores the process of constructing this installation, its history which is also the history of its site. And it ignores the concept, the thoughts of the artist, her goal, her intention that may have been pre-consciously  present, perhaps. If I have been able to view this ensemble a bit like a situation that is comparable to that of a temple inserted into the rain forest of Guatemala, a temple abandoned today, a temple left alone by itself, without men and women, without being used, practically abandoned to the wind and the rain, this is a description of an emotion caused by this work of art. But, on the other hand, the facts are clear: As starting point, we have nothing but a tennis court, the site of a tennis court abandoned to nature. This human creation, inserted into a space covered by trees as a rectangular place, and insofar abstract, but changed by time and nature which have given to this site a cover of green grass, is also changing our "reading" of the art work that has been incorporated right here. A work,  made of peat (that is colored?, at any rate, ephemeral)  and of metal,  that is in some way derived from a definitive form used earlier on by the artist in another context.  It is the form of an architectural model, a maquette of the semicircles of seats in a modern or ancient theater, and it appears like a design reduced to its extremely abstract essence. Putting it differently, one may say that it is the abstract (the form of this maquette) inserted into something abstract which has turned more organic, more like nature (the rectangular tennis court, transformed by time, the wind, etc.). 

  the maquette

And this form of abstract or conceptual art inserted here is also going to change, sooner or later, in the same direction.  This abstract form, derived from the modern theater, derived from ancient theater, is, in the last analysis, more than a mystic form, more than a universal form which appears like a tree leaf made simple that has changing meanings, in history and in different cultures. Derived, logically and consciously, from the ancient form of the Greek theater (the amphithéatron ), it has incorporated the logic of constructing this type of theater - a theater of the kind which I have seen in Delphi, inserted plausibly in the sloping nature of the hills, as architecture organically adapted to the topography. In other words, the fact is decisive that the derivation of the constructivist form of the blue and mystic  "icon" has been obscured in the history of the process of its construction.  The mystery is nothing but the forgotten praxis [practice] of human ingenuity; it is the forgotten fact that the abstract, clear, constructivist thought of the architects and the artists is derived from the act of observing (organic) nature; it is the forgotten fact that the respect for the function (of the theater, in this case), the respect for the needs of people (the Greek men and women, in this case, which made use of their theater, inserted into the hills) was at the origin of a form that turned abstract.  The mystification, the mystic or magic impression of the object results from the fact that one has forgotten the origine, that a caesura exists, an isolation from the past and a concentration on the moment. Its presence. It is true,  there exists also -  within the ensemble of this installation composed of a nature exposed to the dual insertion of a tennis court and an esthetic form -  this anticipation of the future, departing from a presence which knows the anticipation of finiteness. But nothing beyond this. In this moment of a look embodying all one's concentration which aids the isolation of the things perceived, the impression of a fascinating combination, the montage of a mythic object with an irritating nature can result. It is the reflection of the production process of a work of art and of its historical preconditions which dissipates the myth in a certain way. But not without "enriching" our esthetic experience by making our perception of the work of art richer and more complex. And this, certainly, without responding, in any way, to all of its questions, to all of its   potentiality.

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changing land art

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...and still changing ( - there exists an even larger 
documentation of these changes...)

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3 - The installation exhibited in Bratislava by  Leen Lybeer

  the installation in Bratislava... by Leen Lybeer

In Bratislava, Lenn Lybeer created another installation that is also integrated into nature.  This installation is using a natural material, as well -  straw. A square or rectangular space has been formed by straw around the green grass growing below a tree. The edge of the space covered by grass is not straight but runs in irregular fashion. The limit of the added space is abstract, clear and regular. This work amounts to an act of montage and also an act of confrontation of culture and nature, of a form made or produced by the artist with a form spontaneously produced by nature.   The boundary where the two spaces meet is of considerable interest.   It is the meeting point, the line of osmosis between the man-made and the other which escapes, to some extent, the control of man if he is prepared to let nature pursue its course. But this is not all. Another force is going to intervene, the force of  time, the forces of the wind, the rain. Without the repeated intervention of man, the artificial and abstract addition (made of a material as transitory as straw) is determined to change its character; its destiny is no other destiny than that of a metamorphosis. Which will transform the entire ensemble, all of the installation,  by an indeterminate or random process, into a bit of nature.

© Copyright of all images by Leen Lybeer.