Land Slides

National Museum of Ceramics Princessehof / Curated by Tanya Rumpff

The gradual disappearance of text that first appeared in Lahuis his 'water texts', reappears in a series of clay tablets that he has shown from 2018 onwards. To produce this work, he adapted the technique of typesetting, that was used to produce books in the pre-digital age, as well as more contemporary techniques such as laser-cutting and CNC milling. 

With the help of these techniques Lahuis reproduced a scientific article that describes an erosion process that defined the shape of the European continent. This process took place over the course of thousands of years and separated the UK from mainland Europe geologically. The clay used in the work originates from a quarry in the UK. It is the same kind of clay that eroded to form the Dover-Strait.

The time frame of the erosion process that is described in the text is contrasted with the time frame of the first exhibitions it was shown in, in which water ran over the imprinted clay and eroded the text itself. This ‘deep time’ versus ‘real time’ erosion took place at the same time as the negotiation process that resulted in the separation agreement between the UK and the EU.

Lahuis has presented the eroded and dried version of these tablets in various other exhibitions, as a testament to these different understandings of time and process. These works were part of a wider series in which Lahuis used the elements such as land, water and fire as a lens to look at and understand political concepts and its consequences.

Yori Appelo for When Stones Awake – POST Nijmegen

Two-stage opening of the Dover-Strait and the origin of Island Britain [2/12], detail.
Two-stage opening of the Dover-Strait and the origin of Island Britain [2/12], detail.
Two-stage opening of the Dover-Strait and the origin of Island Britain [2/12]. 2018-2019
Water, water pump and imprinted Weald clay in aluminium frame. 350 x 120 x 95 cm
Pressure Map [Europe] I. 2018
Burned laserprint and Kozo Whisper Tissue on handmade paper. 76x56cm
Pressure Map [Europe] III. 2018
Burned laserprint and Kozo Whisper Tissue on handmade paper. 76x56cm
Pressure Map [Europe] V. 2018
Burned laserprint and Kozo Whisper Tissue on handmade paper. 76x56cm
Installation view, foreground
Two-stage opening of the Dover-Strait and the origin of Island Britain [3/12]. 2018-2019
Water, water pump and imprinted Weald clay in aluminium frame.
300 x 120 x 95 cm
Two-stage opening of the Dover-Strait and the origin of Island Britain [3/12], detail
Two-stage opening of the Dover-Strait and the origin of Island Britain [3/12], detail

The blurring of (geographic) borders is the subject of the monumental clay tablets that Lahuis showed in the Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics. During the exhibition, a constant flow of water eroded the text that was printed in the clay. The ultimate effect of the process is being shown in the exhibition Le Mal du Pays. The text is a handmade enlarged copy of an article from science magazine Nature Communications about the geographic insularity of Britain from continental Europe. Britain was a peninsula before the breaching of the ridge that seperated the marine embayments to the north (North Sea) and southwest (English Channel) .... The text on the now fragile, dried tablets has almost become illegible, the English language in some parts being transformed into characters resembling Sumerian cuneiform. The tablets became relics of a bygone age - even though the article has only been published in 2017.

Luuk Hoogewerf, The Pain of the Country