Conjunction of Opposites: Woman of War and Lady of the Wild Things, 1983 - 1986

Basel 2019
Installation of two mixed-media performing sculptures
Conjunction of Opposites: Woman of War and Lady of the Wild Things (1983–1986) is a ground-breaking installation by Liliane Lijn. First exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1986, the two towering figures were well ahead of their time: using pioneering technologies, they also explored binary notions of gender, establishing femininity as a fluid cosmic fact. Lady of the Wild Things (1983), a bird goddess, represents the lunar archetype. Activated by sound, her head is formed of a prism (shaped like the infamous, British post- WWII Centurion tank), her red and green wings studded with 250 LEDs. She represents life in death and death in life. Made some years later, Woman of War (1986) is a singing goddess, intoning an angry, bold, and audacious song in Lijn’s voice. A disembodied beam of red light bounces between their heads. When on their own they sleep, while when encountered they perform a 6-minute dramatic exchange of choreographed poetry and light in a cloud of artificial fog. They are epitomes of the female: seductive, powerful, spiritual.