For seven years, photographer and artist Lena Herzog followed the evolution of a new kinetic species. Intricate as insects but with bursts of equine energy, the “Strandbeests,” or “beach creatures,” are the creation of Dutch artist Theo Jansen, a new life-form that moves, and even survives, on its own. This tribute showcases Jansen’s imaginative vision, a mesmerizing encounter with whole new ideas of existence.
Lena Herzog captures the uncanny sculpture-creatures of Theo Jansen For seven years, photographer and artist Lena Herzog followed the evolution of a new kinetic species. Intricate as insects but with bursts of equine energy, the “Strandbeests” or “beach creatures,” are the creation of Dutch artist Theo Jansen, who has been working for nearly two decades to develop a new life-form that moves, and even survives, on its own.
Set to roam the beaches of Holland, the Strandbeests pick up the wind in their gossamer wings and spring, as if by metamorphosis, into action. As if it were blood, not the breeze, running through their delicate forms, they quiver, cavort, and trot against the sun and sea, pausing to change direction if they sense loose sand or water that might destabilize their movement.
Coinciding with a traveling exhibition, Herzog’s photographic tribute captures Jansen’s menagerie in a meditative black and white, showcasing Jansen’s imaginative vision, as well as the compelling intersection of animate and inanimate in his creatures. The result is a work of art in its own right and a mesmerizing encounter not only with a very surrealist brand of marvelous, but also with whole new ideas of existence.
The photographer and author
Lena Herzog is a multi-disciplinary artist. She studied Philosophy and Linguistics (Philology), began working primarily in the field of photography and print making since 1997. Herzog is the author of six books of photography; her work has been widely published and reviewed by The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review among many others. She is a regular contributing artist to Harper’s Magazine. Her work has been collected and exhibited in major museums and institutions around the world. .
Dutch visual artist Theo Jansen studied science at the University of Delft. He spent his early career painting, before deciding to strike out on a new course by making a real flying saucer which flew over Delft in 1980. Since then he has been working on the creation of the Strandbeest species. Jansen’s work has been featured in several television programs, as well as in The New Yorker, New Scientist, and Wired.
The contributing author
Lawrence Weschler is Director Emeritus of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU. A former staff writer at The New Yorker, he is the author of over 15 books, including the Pulitzer-nominated Mr Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder and Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences, winner of the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. He is a contributing editor at Threepenny Review, TheVirginia Quarterly Review, and McSweeney's.
Strandbeest. The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen Lena Herzog, Theo Jansen, Lawrence Weschler Hardcover with three fold-outs, 25 x 35 cm, 2.68 kg, 328 pages ISBN 978-3-8365-4849-6 Multilingual Edition: English, French, German