Liliane Lijn’s Extrapolation was the winning sculpture of the Norwich Triennial Festival Sculpture Competition in 1982 and was originally located at the Norwich Central Library. The competition brief was to design a sculpture for the inner courtyard and Lijn played with the idea of layers or leaves, in terms of the pages of a book. A subsequent development of the library meant that the courtyard had to be remodelled. In 1993, Extrapolation was moved to the University of East Anglia campus and relocated next to the University Library. This retained, in a sense, the site-specificity to the library context. The sculpture now forms part of the campus Sculpture Park. The move proved to be prescient, since the sculpture escaped a fire that destroyed the Norwich Central Library in August 1994.
The sculpture is formed from ten leaves or pages made from triangular sections of stainless steel plates. The plates are held apart by spacers, allowing 5cm between each plate. This gives the sculpture a feeling of openness and light. It also creates interesting optical phenomena.
Liliane Lijn was born in New York in 1939, educated in Europe, and has lived in London since 1966. Her family were Jewish and migrated from Europe to the USA at the outbreak of World War II. Her family included writers and artists, who she describes as ‘simply interesting people’. In 1955, she moved to Switzerland, where she began to paint. In 1958 she moved to Paris, where she studied art history and archaeology at the Sorbonne.
Lijn is a leading pioneer and exponent of kinetic art, who in her work has experimented with light, movement, words, film, liquids and industrial materials. She has worked with sculpture, film, performance and collage. Her work has always pushed the boundaries of experimentation and novel use of new materials such as aerogel.
In 1963 Liliane Lijn had her first exhibition at La Librairie Anglaise in Paris, where she showed kinetic artworks called Poem Machines. In these works, cylinders with printed words spin at high speed until they blur and vibrate. Lijn felt that words had lost their power and wanted to do something about this. By 1971 she began receiving commissions to design and make large public sculptures, such as White Koan, currently located at the University of Warwick campus in Coventry, UK. Lijn has exhibited internationally and had a major retrospective exhibition in 2005 at the Mead Gallery, University of Warwick Arts Centre.
Calvin Winner, November 2020
Artist/Maker: Liliane Lijn
Object Type: Outdoor sculpture, Sculpture
Materials: Stainless Steel
Accession Number: L.08
Historic Period: 20th century
Credit Line: On long loan from Norfolk County Council