In Landing Strip for the Milky Way, Lisa Glauer exhibits various series of artwork and light installations using diverse media. One series involves multi-layered drawings on paper in various shades of ochre yellow, dark orange and brown. Back-lit with LED light panels, they depict military technology developed by the arms industry.
Her investigative research led her to the urban SanDiego/Tijuana border area. A man-made steel barrier is currently being erected to literally wall-off humans attempting to migrate. The increased impermeability and physical density found here – along with a massive industrial presence – interfere with the natural flow of water.
Additionally, growing military and industrial production is having a detrimental effect on both the environment and the regional population.
Indeed, research conducted by the Scripps Institute shows that human breast milk in the SanDiego/Tijuana region is the most contaminated in the world.
Collecting human milk from those who produce it literally comments on what transpires between two human beings; it is drawn from one to sustain another and it is invisible. Releasing it from this entanglement makes it visible and therefore, to a large extent, public.
For Glauer´s experimental drawings with milk, she crosses two apparently conflicting fields: human milk is used to render technical drawings. The latter can be seen as cerebral and quantifiable whereas the former is natural and amorphous. Human milk signifies love, nurturing, growth, and intimacy; it is produced through an empathetic process whereby the body readily learns to produce milk in response to physical stimulation by physically dependent, vulnerable offspring.
The central piece is the Landing Strip for the Milky Way, which also lends its name to the exhibition. For this sculptural installation, the two layers of transparent paper is diagonally cut through the cube-like shape of the gallery, added by clamps, human milk, neon light, which are supported by sculptural wooden beams, ready for the Milky Way to land. This installation was shown previously at the Graduate School, University of Arts, Berlin in 2017, curated by Jan Verwoert.
Another series, White Love, comprises ten rectangular graphite and milk drawings of guns. Rendered on white framed paper and displayed next to each other, they occupy the gallery’s spacious, high walls. It reminiscence of the minimalistic construct objects and the space created by them as in Dan Flavin´s industrial sculptures.
Because of their nature – they are drawn/painted with milk – the White Love paintings “disappear”. Only a subsequent ironing of the material, allows the painted objects – a revolver, individual or congregating humans – emerge. The invisible and the visualization may connect to the perpetual admission of violence through political, economic and cultural contexts as well as their occasional visibility in the form of spectacular and revivifying individual acts.
Using contaminated human milk as an art material in conjunction with a burning process, is the artist’s attempt to draw attention to urgent intersectional global, socio-political, and environmental issues.