Mazes and Labyrinths

Last week, I posted about Alice Aycock’s earthwork,  “A Simple Network of Underground Wells & Tunnels.” Similar to the aims of that artwork, the art installations in this post explore questions about logic and journey in the form of mazes and labyrinths. In the children’s garden at our local arboretum, there is a simple labyrinth made of rocks that my children and I walk over and over. Some mazes aim to develop our logic skills, but the ones I selected for this post are more interested in how we navigate once we’ve reached the end of our logic skills.

The art in this post makes something beautiful out of getting lost. Getting lost is an important ingredient to a good road trip and an inevitable part living life. As a parent, it seems easier to teach my children how to move forward in life than to meditate on the beauty of being stuck. From the beginning, parenting has been a huge maze for me. Most of the time, I don’t know the right answer and not knowing feels like a dead end. But I want the dead ends to feel like a promise, so that my children and I might more regularly anticipate learning something new from our journey. That’s one reason why teaching my children to see the invisible is just as important as teaching them to see the visible. You can click on any image to learn more about the artwork.

wolfgang laib
From the Known to the Unknown – To Where is Your Oracle Leading You? by Wolfgang Laib in Studio Anselm Kiefer, France, 131 foot, underground beeswax corridor

Dan Graham

Two-way Mirror Punched Steel Hedge Labyrinth by Dan Graham
Two-way Mirror Punched Steel Hedge Labyrinth by Dan Graham
Sam Falls
Light Over Time by Sam Falls, 2014. a maze produced by the Public Art Fund
Limbo by GRR West
Limbo by GRR West, stretched film maze created around 200 trees in Germany

Henrique Oliveira

Transarquitetônica by Henrique Oliveira
Transarquitetônica by Henrique Oliveira. The installation ends where it begins
"The things that you don't see that you don't see" by Olafur Eliasson, 2001
“The things that you don’t see that you don’t see” by Olafur Eliasson, 2001
Francis Alys
Albert’s Way by Francis Alÿs. Walking the length of the Camino Ingles in his studio

Labyrint by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

Labyrint by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh
Labyrint by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh
Labyrinth by Sam Durant
Labyrinth by Sam Durant. a public artwork about mass incarceration and the accessibility of beauty

Josep Pujiula's Labyrinth

Joseph Pujiula’s Labyrinth in Spain has been built, destroyed, and rebuilt a few times since 1980.
Big Maze by Bjarke Ingels
Big Maze by Bjarke Ingels at the National Building Museum
Mirror Maze with 12 Signs of Depression by Ken Lum
Mirror Maze with 12 Signs of Depression by Ken Lum
Roads Diverge by Aaron Stephan
Roads Diverge by Aaron Stephan

Related Links:

Corrie Marie Schneider’s “The Ten List: Walk as Art”

A Brief History of Mazes by NBM

Notes on Anslem Keifer’s La Ribaute from Jan and Michael.

Francis Alÿs video of “Albert’s Way”

Public Art Review describes Joseph Pujiula Labyrinth in Spain.


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