Friday, November 13, 2020

‘They Show Where the Bodies Are Buried’ – Langlands & Bell at the Soane Museum, Reviewed

By Will Wiles
Burnt Madonna (1985), Langlands & Bell. Installation view in the Monk’s Parlour at Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, 2020. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Above the fireplace in Sir John Soane’s basement kitchen there hangs a dead dog. The Soane Museum makes an excellent setting for Langlands & Bell, and excellence of their exhibition reveals itself in stages. Besides poor old wind-dried Fido, and the remade Traces of Living collection, in the sculpture court is Burnt Madonna (1985): a statue of St Theresa that has been deeply scorched, its cracked and sparkling surface left resembling quilted velvet. As a made object, it would be remarkable; but it is a disturbing found object, salvaged from a Catholic church that had been attacked by an arsonist on Christmas Day 1985. [More]

Langlands & Bell in the Library-Dining Room with Grand Tour (2020). Photo: Gareth Gardner