“There is nothing conceited about strandbeests, even though they are sophisticated and multilayered. And that combination of sophistication and simplicity extends even to their construction, because if you look at them they seem complex but actually they are built up from repetitions of just a handful of core principles.”
—Lena Herzog, in conversation with Lawrence Weschler
Documentary and fine art photographer Lena Herzog's lyrical photographs of artist Theo Jansen and his strandbeests have shaped our perception of the artist and his life’s work. Herzog began chronicling the evolution of strandbeests in 2007 and capturing their charming, lifelike motion as they ambled over Dutch coastal landscapes.
Her photographs, recently published in lush print and electronic books (Taschen, 2016), inspired the exhibition Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen. Tonight, she joins Marina McDougall, Director of the Exploratorium’s Center for Art & Inquiry, in conversation to describe what it was like to discover, come to know, and translate the work of Jansen. Herzog will share what is entailed when one artist chooses to document the vision of another.
Russian-American photographer Lena Herzog was born in 1970 in the Urals. She studied languages and literature at the University of Saint Petersburg before moving to the United States. After working at Stanford University as a research assistant and completing her degree in philosophy at Mills College, she devoted herself to photography, studying traditional darkroom photographic printing techniques and combining them with modern techniques to achieve her unique effects. Her work appears widely in major publications and in museum exhibitions around the world. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband, German filmmaker Werner Herzog.