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Clare Langan, b.1967

Forty Below1999

Clare Langan’s post-apocalyptic trilogy of films, ‘Forty Below’, 1999, ‘Too Dark for Night’, 2001 and ‘Glass Hour’, 2002, individually and collectively offer us visions of a future in which the forces of nature appear to have overwhelmed the human hold on the planet. Each film explores the limitless forces of nature as they trace the path of a solitary figure through a catastrophic landscape. Created using a Bolex 16mm and Super 16mm camera customised with hand-painted filters and lens attachments, the trilogy was not altered in postproduction, except for their transfer to DVD. This approach remains true to the sensuality of film and gives a highly atmospheric and painterly feel to the finished works, each part of the trilogy having its own palette of colours, and each its own texture. By introducing highly-saturated colours into the piece Langan evokes feelings of nostalgia, loss, and isolation. Shot on location between Ireland, Iceland and Namibia, the trilogy explores the seemingly limitless forces of nature, tracing the path of a solitary figure through a post-apocalyptic landscape.

‘Forty Below’ depicts a world where the delicate balance of nature has been upturned. There appears to have been a flood and the familiar world is now submerged in water. We see a destroyed world, fossilized and frozen. There is a weightlessness, a lack of gravity, where time and place merge and the division between earth and sky become unclear. Water is the key elemental force in this work and the palette is a range of blue, black green and white.

Medium16 mm Bolex film transferred to video (colour, surround sound)
DurationDimensions variable
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Purchase, 1999
Item NumberIMMA.857
Image Caption
Clare Langan, Forty Below, 1999, 16 mm Bolex film transferred to video (colour, surround sound), Dimensions variable, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Purchase, 1999

For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].

About the Artist

Clare Langan b.1967

IIrish artist Clare Langan studied fine art at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. She received a Fulbright Scholarship to New York University in 1992. Langan evokes feelings of nostalgia, loss, and isolation in her atmospheric films. She represented Ireland at the São Paulo Biennale in 2002. In 2003 Langan presented her ambitious ‘A Film Trilogy’ at MoMA, New York and the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin. The following year, she took part in ‘Tír na nÓg’, a group show at IMMA.
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