Journey of discovery

Michael Heizer – Art Before Life (A Relationship on the Land)

Michael Heizer, Art Before Life (A Relationship on the Land), 1969, photographic collage, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst Aachen, loan of the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation, photo: Anne Gold

Setting out to break the boundaries of the commercial art market, the artists of the Land Art realize their mostly large-scale projects in areas that are remote and difficult to reach. They only use photographic or filmic media to document their works.

In 1969, the year of the first crewed Moon landing, Michael Heizer juxtaposes a photograph of his artistic work in the desert with a NASA satellite image of the lunar surface. At first, Heizer approaches the unknown terrain via its dimensions: While his traces on Earth are only 12 feet (3.6 meters) wide, similar traces on the moon extend over 120 miles (193 kilometers) without any human intervention. With this comparison, Heizer reveals completely new dimensions and scopes of action – at least mentally.