Lili Dujourie

The open-endedness of the experimental, the not-knowing that informs it, is an added responsibility, not a license to offer less precision. No one knows this better than Belgian artist Lili Dujourie (born in 1941, lives in Lovendegem). Since the mid-1960s, she has been working on some of the core problems of how to articulate visual thought. She has deliberated fundamentally irresolvable relations – of painting to sculpture, image to object, bodies to actions, composition within them and sequences between them – in a succession of materials and techniques: steel rods and plates, torn coloured paper, analogue video and photography, velvet, marble, plaster, lead, flattened iron wire, ceramic, papier-mâché. ‘I choose materials for their meaning, and they are always both matter and medium.’ Dujourie’s oeuvre transcends (or, rather, ‘sublates’, the commonly used English translation of Hegel’s aufheben) the often overstated division between political art and art-specific concerns. She shows her belief in the power of the visual – by using it to make interesting statements about the importance of the political. She convinces us that thinking through art, within art, must never be written off as conservative – by not renouncing the quest for what might be called ‘the beauty of meaning and the meaning of beauty’.