A Muse Um 8
Digital inkjet print2007
About the work
Place: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, Whitehall
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.
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.
- A Muse Um 8
- Digital inkjet print
- height: 69.00 cm, width: 88.00 cm
- Purchased from Alan Cristea Gallery, March 2008
- below image, br: Langlands & Bell 17/30
- Alan Cristea, London
- GAC number