Air Routes of Britain (Night & Day)

Langlands and Bell (1955;1959 - )

Diptych: pair of screenprints


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© Langlands and Bell

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  • About the work

    At first glance, this diptych seems to be entirely abstract, but on closer inspection it becomes clear that the images represent a map similar to those printed in in-flight magazines showing domestic and international flight routes. The destinations of the routes add up to form a vague outline of the British Isles. Night and day are represented by the artists' use of white on black and black on white.

    Langlands and Bell are concerned with the systems by which our lives are controlled. An earlier work entitled Air Routes in NW Europe (Night & Day) was described in the catalogue to their 1997 Serpentine Gallery exhibition as "an image and effigy of some obscure force, abstract and elusive: an image not only of speed, but of the whole system of control over human travel."

    Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell met as students at Middlesex Polytechnic in 1977 and have been working in collaboration ever since. A central concern of their work is the relationship between people and the buildings they inhabit: "we shape our buildings, and thereafter they shape us". Langlands and Bell were among the group of Young British Artists whose work from the Saatchi Collection was included in the Sensation exhibition at the Royal Academy, London, in 1997, and subsequently toured to the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin and the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York (1999).

  • About the artist
    Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell met as students at Middlesex Polytechnic in 1978 and have worked in collaboration ever since. Their practice is primarily concerned with the relationships between people and the architecture in which we live our lives. They have said ‘we shape our buildings, and thereafter they shape us.’ Langlands and Bell have exhibited widely around the world, including exhibitions in Tokyo at TN Probe (1998) and CCA Kitakyushu (1997 and 2020-21). In the late 1990s, they were part of the group of artists known at the time as the ‘Young British Artists’, and their works featured in the 'Sensation' touring exhibition that opened at the Royal Academy in 1997. In the same year, a major touring exhibition of their work from 1986–1996 featured at the Serpentine Gallery, London, the Grey Art Gallery in New York and the Kunsthalle, Bielefeld. In 2004, the artists’ exhibition, 'The House of Osama Bin Laden' won a BAFTA Award in the category of Interactive Arts Installation. The exhibition was shown at the Imperial War Museum, London and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. Since 2008, solo exhibitions of Langlands and Bell’s work include shows in London, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Kitakyushu and Accra.
  • Explore
    Materials & Techniques
    diptych, screenprint
  • Details
    Air Routes of Britain (Night & Day)
    Diptych: pair of screenprints
    Purchased from the Contemporary Art Society, Art Futures 2000 exhibition, November 2000
    verso of each print: Langlands & Bell 6/45
    GAC number