‘A Muse Um’ is a portfolio of nine prints by the British artist duo, Langlands and Bell. The prints were developed from digitally animated stills from their film of the same title made in 2007.
Composed as grids, each print in the portfolio features acronyms designed in bold, contrasting colours. Interspersed with them are photographs of architectural features, signs and interiors. What are these acronyms? Some are instantly recognisable such as MOMA (The Museum of Modern Art, New York), while others are less familiar. The acronyms refer to contemporary art museums and galleries around the world, including SLG (South London Art Gallery) and TMCA (Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art). The accompanying images show different aspects of museum culture - from groups of visitors, to flags and architectural façades.
Playing on the words ‘museum’, ‘muse’ and ‘amusement’, the title of this work brings together elements and activities associated with the experience of visiting museums. Langland and Bell highlight the universal enjoyment and stimulation that these cultural spaces provide to millions of audiences around the world.
With a long-term interest in architecture as a tangible record of the way we live, Langlands and Bell see architecture as a form of public language which everyone, regardless of their background, directly experiences. Their work often explores the relationships between people and the buildings in which we live, work, learn or play. Commenting on their work in the past, the artists echoed Sir Winston Churchill’s words that ‘First we shape our buildings, then they shape us’ - a famous statement he made whilst addressing the nation in 1943 on the subject of repairing the damage done to the Houses of Parliament during the Second World War.
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