David A. Lang’s Journey
by J. Fatima Martins
“Journey…” is David A. Lang’s masterpiece self-portrait. The sculpture and installation is the story of how he circled back to himself. Rotating calmly, soothing and subduing chaos, “Journey…” is his personal monomyth.
At the center is the artist, a type of Vitruvian Man, placed within geometry — circle and square — connected by dozens of lines. The continuous cycling, a type of masculine weaving, is Lang’s formal and conceptual signature. It is design fragmentation and abstracted realism (memory and dreaming) united and rotating into infinity.
Most, but not all of Lang’s more recent kinetic sculptures are similar to “Journey…” — they appear weightless and project the feeling of expansion, fluidity, progression, simplicity and spontaneity. They are precise, but not cold. Some of them are incredibly funny, with poignant content connecting ancient stories, cosmic themes and contemporary culture.
Because of the unification of naturalism and hardedge, Lang’s forms induce awe, joy and wonder. It’s not easy to project the softness of love via metal, but Lang does it masterfully. His sculptures are loving because they resonate a gentle yet intense energy; this energy is his gift.
His greatest and most monumental work to date, “Journey…,” a mixed-media kinetic, immersive sculptural installation that took over 70 years to arrive. Built over a period of one year, starting as a smaller scale maquette model, it grew in collaboration with a team of artists, friends and family members. It features not only Lang’s signature sculptural aesthetic — airy metal lines and bird-grace white paper wings — but also a dramatic musical soundtrack created for the installation and layered images projected onto the wing forms.