Gallerynote 1/2017

February 22 to April 8, 2017

Sol LeWitt (1928–2007) Working Drawings and Archival Material

Our exhibition presents working drawings, photographs and archival material – documents of a collaboration that lasted for four decades.

The focus is on Wall Drawings, the Structures and the Concrete Block Structures. On Friday, March 10, and Friday, April 7, gallery talks will be held in the exhibition space at 7:30pm.

A Wall Drawing from 1987 (installed by Nicolai Angelov in 2013) and a Wall Drawing from 2005 (drawn by Nicolai Angelov in 2015) have their place in the two large rooms on Neptunstrasse until the end of our exhibition. The specious present and the direct perception of the Wall Drawings at this location and with this location have thus given cause to impressive and extensive artistic experiences over a longer period of time.

The work form of the Wall Drawings, initiated by Sol LeWitt in 1968, was taken up by contemporary artistic practice as a substantial innovation and expansion. With his concise texts “Wall Drawings”, published in 1970 in Arts Magazine, and “Doing Wall Drawings”, appearing in 1971 in Art Now, the artist formulated a precise delineation of his invention vis-à-vis traditional conventions. These ‘rules’ facilitated readability and autonomy, while simultaneously offering an open and unmarked field for the artistic work of subsequent generations.

In the oeuvre of Sol LeWitt, the comprehensive group of the Wall Drawings is of central importance and relevance. It is an unmistakable hallmark of the work of LeWitt that an initial clarification of the conditions has the potential to serve as the starting point and stimulus for a virtually unlimited wealth of possibilities, ideas, discoveries and visual sensations. Reduction and comprehensibility open up a vast and almost incomprehensible diversity.

The text ‘Place’ (Basho 1926) by the Japanese philosopher Kitaro Nishida (1870–1945) contains the following sentences: “It is in the place of experience that the oppositional relationship of form and matter comes to be established. Thus, that which infinitely reflects itself in itself; that which itself is nothingness but contains infinite being, is the true Self in which the so-called subject-object is established.”

In the case of the Wall Drawings by Sol LeWitt, the place is an important yet contradictory value and condition. On one hand, LeWitt never conceived the Wall Drawings for a particular place. The body of these works exists independently of the concrete location of the individual work. The latter is defined by a diagram and certificate – a notation or score – which enables an unlimited duration.

Nevertheless, it was the desire and intention of the artist for the Wall Drawings to be executed, or in fact performed, by competent assistants on either a temporary or permanent basis in a real, given architectural place. Only by appropriating dimension, acoustics and quality of the architectural housing is the artistic ambition satisfied.

This flexible notion of the place of art is an innovative idea that brings many challenges, impulses and scarcely foreseeable consequences in connection with the actual existence and duration of the work. The many possibilities of such a place that come into question so that the museum or gallery room, the public, semi-public and private space, can function as an offering indicates the significant role accorded to the viewer and his physical presence. An approximation of Nishida's concept of the place of experience.


Antonio Calderara (1903-1978)
Kunstmuseum Winterthur
February 11 to April 30, 2017

Sol LeWitt (1928–2007)
A Wall Drawing Retrospective

Yale University Art Gallery and Williams College Museum of Art
November 16, 2008 – 2033

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