Meet the renowned artistic collaborators and identical twins, Doug & Mike Starn

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“The piece is all about freedom and respect for everyone – that’s an underlying aspect of it.” Meet the renowned artistic collaborators and identical twins, Doug & Mike Starn, who talk about their spectacular series of large-scale bamboo installations ‘Big Bambú’, which have been constructed at several locations around the world.

Doug & Mike Starn believe in an inherent interdependence of everything – that things always come out of something else – and their ‘Big Bambú’ series arose out of the realisation that this philosophy could be demonstrated as a sculpture. For the various installations around the world, the artists try to find an expression that steps beyond control and instead reflects how life works: “It’s a random interdependence, and that’s the invisible architecture of life… ‘Big Bambú’ is that made visible.” The Starns grew up near the ocean, and their love of it is reflected in the installation series, where their initial idea was to make “a piece that never ends” by creating a sort of seascape with a sculptural wave “that was continuously generating itself.” Moreover, they appreciate that the shape of the bamboo sculpture also gives you a sense of not knowing where you are, “because we never know where we are in life.”

Doug & Mike Starn (b. 1961) are American artists. The Starn brothers first gained international attention at the 1987 Whitney Biennial. They primarily work conceptually with photography but are also known to defy categorisation, combining photography, sculpture and architecture. Their 2010 installation ‘Big Bambú: You Can’t, You Don’t, and You Won’t Stop’ at the roof garden of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York was the 9th most attended exhibition in the museum’s history. Throughout the six-month exhibit, the Starns and their crew of rock climbers continuously lashed and sculpted over 7,000 bamboo poles, forming a section of a seascape with a cresting wave above Central Park. Their work has been the object of numerous museum and gallery exhibitions worldwide, including solo exhibitions at The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, The Cincinnati Art Museum, Portland Museum of Art, National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the 54th Venice Biennale in Venice. Moreover, they have received two National Endowment for the Arts Grants and The International Center for Photography’s Infinity Award for Fine Art Photography.

Doug & Mike Starn were interviewed by Kasper Bech Dyg at Ordrupgaard in Charlottenlund, Denmark in May 2018 in connection with their site-specific bamboo installation ‘Geometry of Innocence’.

Camera: Mathias Nyholm 
Produced and edited by: Kasper Bech Dyg 
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2019

Supported by Nordea-fonden

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