The exhibition TIME • SIGNS / TIME • SIGNED is the first institutional solo exhibition of the renowned Belgian artist group LAb[au] (Laboratory for Art and Urbanism) in Germany.
For over 25 years, the Brussels-based group has been exploring the relationship between art, language, time and technology. A recurring theme is the examination of monochrome art and the question of how it can be reinterpreted for present times.
In this context, the artists are showing the largest version to date of their work One Thousend Six Hundred Light Years at Kunstmuseum Heidenheim. It consists of a large monochrome field of radioluminescent yellow pigment that constantly emits energy. The half-life of the material is around 1600 years, so that the work will be extinguished after this time. Thus, visitors can not only experience the intense colour, but are also encouraged to think about the passing of time. Works that play with the oxidation of copper and lead, black squares that turn white depending on the room climate, or visual representations of centuries also bring temporal aspects into abstract art.
In addition to colour, the artist group is intensively concerned with language and its translation into other systems. Like a lexicographer, LAb[au] creates entire series of books to explore infinite combinations of forms and indexes all possible ways to fill a blank white page. With their rule-based approach, the artists question materiality, process and the concept of art.
Frequently, chance also becomes a model of thought and co-producer of art. For example, a text-based work can be seen on the façade of the Kunstmuseum. Letters are randomly selected one after the other until a word can be read. This will then be read for exactly as long as it took to form it. This may take a minute or several weeks, or it may not happen at all.
LAb[au] is a group founded in 1997 with changing members of different professions. Currently it consists of Manuel Abendroth, Jérôme Decock and Els Vermang (until 2022). The name combines the word Lab (= laboratory), which describes the experimental-research approach of the group, and the German word Bau, which stands for the constructive-architectural principles and the content-related reference to the Bauhaus. Pronounced in French, the name is also reminiscent of “Beaux” (= beautiful).
LAb[au] was awarded the Prix Victor Vasarely (Aix en Provence), the Young Belgium Painters Award (Brussels) and the Prix Médiatine (Brussels), among others. The group participated in numerous exhibition worldwide, amonst others at: Louvre Paris, Bauhaus Dessau, New Museum in New York, Kunstinstituut Melly (formerly Witte de With) and Kunsthal Rotterdam, Haus der elektronischen Künste Basel, Casino Luxemburg, Musée dˋArt Contemporain Montreal, MOMA New York, Singapore Art Museum, Ludwig Forum Aachen and Palais des Beaux Arts Brussels. The group was also participant at Ars Electronica in Linz and the Venice Biennale.