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A Claude van Lingen Retrospective

  • DEMO Gallery 721 Congress Avenue Austin, TX, 78701 United States (map)

Co-Lab Projects proudly presents TIMEKEEPER, a retrospective of the life and works of artist Claude van Lingen, whose work displays the passage and contemplation of time. While time is a seemingly ungraspable element of life, Claude has made it a focus of his work since 1978, concerning himself with both the future and past by analyzing what specific paint colors may look like in 1,000 years, or predicting which animals may be extinct in the future, the fate of the world through natural disasters, memorializing events such as 9/11 or casualties of war. Whether it be the passage of time documented through the work or the persistence of time acting on the piece, through deterioration or addition, Claude continually offers time the opportunity to take control. His insatiable curiosity for materials and process has produced a lifetime's worth of work encompassing a spectrum of media including painting, drawing, writing, video, and sculpture.

Claude was born in Vereeniging, South Africa (1931) where he discovered a passion for art at a young age. Painting chalices and elephants, he made his first sale of a watercolor at the age of 15 and took art lessons at the local technical college. He also attended Johannesburg College of Art where he graduated with distinctions and was voted “best student” by his peers and professors. From there he spent a year in Paris on sabbatical where he studied for 4 months at the Academi Notre-Dame des Champs under Henri Goetz. Later, after moving to the United States in 1978, he went on to study at Pratt Institute where he received his MFA. Claude relocated to Austin, Texas in 2006 and has been an extremely active contributor to Austin’s art community since. 

Claude has also been a major contributor to the education of others through his years of teaching which he began at Dr. Malan High School in Meyerton, South Africa, and after which he taught at Johannesburg College of Art for 14 years. During his time there he was made chairman of the Teacher Training Department and Fine Art Department, and developed the Perceptual Studies course for the college in which he encouraged students to find their individual voices and explore multiple avenues for creating rather than focusing on traditional practices. Claude himself was so inspired by the success of his students that he implemented the process and methodology into his own work and is currently writing a book based on his teaching. An excerpt may be found at After moving to the U.S. he taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York and most recently was an adjunct professor at Austin Community College. In addition to his prolific career as an educator, Claude also worked as a graphic designer for Scholastic (NYC) for nearly 13 years designing ads for the Goosebumps and Harry Potter series.

Claude's work can be found in the collections of the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas as well as museums in South Africa, such as the Johannesburg Art Gallery, and the Durban Art Gallery. His work has been exhibited at countless galleries and museums nationally and internationally including the National Museum in Johannesburg, John Weber Gallery (NYC), Public Image Gallery (NYC), White Box (NYC), as well as many galleries here in Texas including Cinnabar (San Antonio), Pump Project (Austin), Tiny Park (Austin), grayDUCK Gallery (Austin), and Northern-Southern (Austin). His series “Flexibles” was prominently featured in the 1975 Sáo Paulo Biennial, and one piece in particular from this series is being recreated for this retrospective. 

TIMEKEEPER is Claude’s fourth solo exhibition with Co-Lab Projects and the most comprehensive to date. His website, shows examples of his early work, “Flexibles”, the “1000 Years From Now” series, press, and his full CV.

Special thanks to our summer intern Samantha Lahey who spent the summer researching Claude's life, and who helped write this statement.