The exhibition title Folia (Leaves) not only refers to Lang’s engagement with the natural world but also encompasses leaves of paper and book formats. The exhibition was on view at the same time as the exhibition Ausdrucksvoll: Streifzüge durch die frühe Buchgeschichte (Full of expression: Forays through the history of books) at the Bibliotheca Augusta.
The artist plays with the physical appearance of the book and, in her artist’s books and book objects, probes the limits of the medium.
Her experimental works engage in a dialogue with historical examples of book art from the library’s holdings. Odine Lang refers to these and relates them to the present. Instead of parchment and Korean paper, her Kleines Küchenherbarium (Little kitchen herbarium) is humorously composed of fleece cloths and kitchen paper. Where the old prints document the development of different typographies with an emphasis on readability, her floating book object Metamorphose der Pflanzen (Metamorphosis of plants) makes Goethe’s poem of the same name illegible. And yet the secret symbolic script consisting of vegetative ornaments graphically captures its hidden content.
For the exhibition, the artist created a new, site-specific, large-format spatial installation with paper objects. A greatly enlarged euphorbia corresponds to the arrangement of book formats in the surrounding shelves of the Augusteerhalle. Large folios occupy the lower shelves, while miniature formats can be found higher up. Echoing this arrangement, the plant’s white leaves – echoing the pale parchment of the book bindings – become smaller as the plant reaches for the ceiling. The installation invites visitors to change vantage points so as to obtain a new sense of the space and the historical collection.
The exhibition ran from 9 May to 4 August 2019 in the Bibliotheca Augusta’s museum.