Lana Steiler is an artist who inherits from the movements of Land Art and art in situ. The roots of her work lie in the concepts of motions and stops, travels and breaks, itineraries and camps. After graduating from the École Supérieure d'Art Annecy Alpes, in 2019, she went on a self-residency for five months, crisscrossing Spain and Portugal. Her only workshop spaces were the place she set up camp in and her old Mercedes van.
Throughout her journeys, she questions the use of natural and uninhabited spaces. It is through her wanderings and encounters that she takes part in the history of different environments and materials they comprise of. She gives substance to that purpose by creating mainly sculptures and in situ installations. She deeply involves her whole body and mind in each place she explores, with the notion of toil as her leitmotif. Her art is inspired by the gestures of peasants or craftsmen, whose work remains consistent even in bad weather. Concerned about her ecological impact, her work is also animated by the idea of not adding to the environment and its elements, but rather to "do with.” Like the forms she creates, Lana does not impose her presence but tries to blend herself into her workspace by shedding light on what is already there.
Ponte d'Arte in Portugal was the last stop of her roaming in 2020. She stayed for five weeks and produced three sculptures here. The first two, Calor Pintura and [prɪˈkɛəriəs], were made in a ruin, located in a garden. Its tiled roof had completely collapsed after the Iberian Fire disaster of 2017. The third sculpture, Track/Tack/Stack, was made in Moura Morta, on a cliff face, along the Alva River.
"At the entrance of this ruin, you will glimpse a space punctuated by three assemblies of tiles on the ground, separated by empty areas. In the center is a bed of collapsed tiles left unaltered. On the left, the broken form of Calor Pintura, (Portuguese for “Heat Painting”) embodies disaster. On the right, in a cleaned-up corner, [prɪˈkɛəriəs] (phonetic spelling of “precarious”), plays with the possibility of reconstruction. Between the two, a clear path is drawn. The whole space thus takes into account the concept of time.”
- Lana Steiler
“Calor Pintura is a sculpture inspired by the fire in 2017. This story moved me a lot and the remaining traces of this tragic event visually seduced me. One of the interior walls of the ruin retains shades of black, gray, blue, and white. It is by observing this fire-made painting that I noticed that the tiles, too, had been tinted by the different degrees of burning they suffered. I then arranged them on the ground, keeping positioning unstructured to respect the general shape in which I had found them. By sorting them according to their colors and matching the colors of the wall against which I placed them, I could understand the different intensities of heat during the fire. Thus, little by little, a gradient formed, passing from dark gray to yellow and red .
As a gradation of burnt pigments, the sculpture that became a painting took on meaning in this place as its history became obvious to me by observation.”
"[prɪˈkɛəriəs] is a sculpture installed in the same space as Calor Pintura. Impatient as an archaeologist wanting to decipher the history of a place before and during a past disaster, I first cleared an area on the ground. This step created a workspace, an in situ workshop. I manipulated the tiles towards the natural stacking their shape induced by its design, with the hope of reconstructing what had been demolished and, by doing so, giving them back their original function. So, little by little and despite the bad weather, I assembled them as high as I could, playing with the breaking points. This gave rise to balanced forms, resistant to rain and wind. The final assembly of these tiles became a carapace-like shelter, restoringtheir function before. The sculpture overlooks and faces the rest of the disaster."
"As I walked along the shale cliffs, I spotted a chunk of the mountain slowly collapsing. My desire then was to repair or rebuild it.
At the time, lockdown due to COVID-19 had just been decreed. I was thinking a lot about care. Each day, for more than a week, I went to that place to take care of it. I first cleared all the debris and cleaned up the cliff to begin construction on a solid rock base. Afterward, I filled all the breaches and interstices by wedging shale plates face to face to reproduce their natural state. My intent was to give back to the solid cliff all the stones it had lost. By reconstructing it upwards, the lines and amalgams of rock finally create the illusion of a downward flow. It was then that the flow of the Alva River below offered a sound dimension to the sculpture. Later, I related this new form to the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, making conscious the ideas of collapse, attempted reconstruction, and life which, despite interruption, continues to flow."