Artworks
Eleven Minute Line
5
Average: 5 (2 votes)
jtucker's picture

Contributor

At first glance, this earthwork piece by Maya Lin may look like an insane ego trip - an artist’s selfish attempt to leave her signature permanently on the earth’s surface.

Fortunately for us, Lin left her narcissism at the door, and created a stunning site-specific work that truly enhances the environment in which it lives. Earthy, rustic, and serene, this piece is bound to please any environmentally passionate art connoisseur.  

Part of the beautiful Wanas Foundation, Eleven Minute Line dwells in a cow pasture of one of the largest organic dairy farms in Northern Europe. With over 1,000 cows romping around on Lin’s artwork at any given time, it would be wise to look before you step! For most, marching into a field of cow patties isn’t exactly the classy art-viewing experience you've been yearning for. In addition to being in a veritable minefield of cow excrement, some accurate planning is required to see this stunning piece. Turns out, Sweden isn’t exactly known for its temperate winters. Stormy for much of the year, the land sculpture often disappears under a blanket of snow.

It may be a little bit of a challenge to visit, but if you are daring and lucky enough to be there during the warmer seasons you will surely be rewarded. This gargantuan work measures in at 12 feet high and 1600 feet long! Truly a wonder to see. And in case you didn’t manage to make it to the gym that day, feel free to climb on up and get that cardio!

Growing up in Ohio, Lin was greatly inspired by the landscape of her youth. Eleven Minute Line is actually a direct response to the Great Serpent Mound - a prehistoric sculpture that sounds like it would be in Southeast Asia...but is in Adams County, Ohio! Built by indigenous tribes around 1070 AD, it is the largest serpent effigy in the world. We now believe that this site was used by ancient cultures for religious purposes…like conjuring the spirits of the dead. Pretty exciting for Ohio!

When Europeans were first exploring the New World and stumbled upon the Serpent Mound, they could not fathom that the Native American tribes were advanced enough to create such stunning structures in the earth. In typical self-absorbed fashion, these settlers claimed that earlier European explorers must have come over, built it, and then left. Riiiight. In an attempt to be ironic, Lin made sure to build this all-American inspired piece on land across the pond. In your face, Europe! We have two big snake things now!