Diamonds in the Mine
Hanna Liden’s works are inspired by the banality of city life, present-day memento moris, and the everlasting cycle of urban rebirth and decay. Diamonds in the Mine, named after the Leonard Cohen song, takes on emptiness as its prevailing theme. What remains when everything is gone; what fills that void?
A series of boulder sculptures fabricated from concrete are arranged in anthropomorphic stacks, emulating bodies. These totemic figures populate and inhabit the space; some hang sullenly from the ceilings, other perch on pedestals. They are humanized by accessories, such as a water bottle or pair of sunglasses, each a signifier of modern-day banality. On another, a banana becomes the mouth, a sardonic and macabre play on the scarecrow or snowman, both of which are also stand-ins and lifeless substitutes for a human presence that is not there. These are likenesses cobbled together from found objects and refuse, creating something out of objects that are left behind.
Liden also presents a two-dimensional work, consisting of four screen-printed panels that depict trash bags lining the sidewalk. These trash bags are yet another form of the “stack” which, like the boulder sculptures, speaks to the detritus that people leave behind. In the piles of waste and garbage is a pervasive sense of absence and abandonment.
Diamonds in the Mine is as much about the act of leaving behind as it is about an intrinsic emptiness. In Liden’s works the proverbial “mine” can be attributed to both a physical as well as a psychological state. Yet in exploring ideas of emptiness, hopelessness, and longing, something poetic is unearthed.
Hanna Liden lives and works in New York.