Time and temporality are uniquely linked with the Wall Drawings of Sol LeWitt. The concept of time aptly visualizes the exceptional and eventful nature of this epochal invention.
In 1968, Sol LeWitt drew his first Wall Drawing on a wall of the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York. The time and context are no accident. An extraordinary societal, cultural and artistic constellation enabled innovations and shifts outside a deterministic evolutionary logic intrinsic to art. Medial housings and forms proved weak and brittle. They were attacked, dismantled, declared obsolete. Deeds and facts were to create circumstances with viability for the future. The fact that Sol LeWitt did not bring his work from the studio into the gallery, that he utilized the wall of the gallery and executed the work in situ and that removal was envisioned upon conclusion of the exhibition: these were all processes and gestures which altered the relationship of the artist to his work and to time and space on one hand and to the gallery and the museum on the other. The range of exhibitions and functions were expanded and undermined with lasting effect. Soon the execution of the Wall Drawings was left to draftsmen or assistants, which augmented the concept with a further essential dimension.
Art with a limited time horizon, taking a different approach to the contradiction of permanence and ephemerality and mixing it up a new way? "The Wall Drawing is a permanent installation, until destroyed. Once something is done, it cannot be undone." (S.L. 1970) In the beginning, a brief description of the Wall Drawing was provided on a standard sheet of office paper, an actual set of instructions. Later, these were accompanied by a certificate with an exact diagram of each Wall Drawing. This notation or score imbues the work with unlimited duration. The relationship to the location also bears a paradox. The place is both exceedingly important and unimportant. The architectonic space is the resonance chamber for any temporary or permanent installation.
Such an original without an original will occupy one of the gallery's large exhibition spaces until beginning of October. In 2006 and 2007, Sol LeWitt conceived a number of black-and-white Wall Drawings. With a fine graphite pencil, the assistant draws a network of lines with a quite free and chaotic structure. This tangle of lines in turn engenders an illusionistic spatiality, shaded from dark to light and back to dark. Yet this spatiality is resolutely dismissed by wall and structure. "I wanted to do a work of art as two-dimensional as possible." (S.L. 1970)
Graphite pencil was used by Sol LeWitt to execute his first Wall Drawings. At the end of his life, he once again created projects for this elementally graphic technique.
In 1975, we presented our first solo exhibition with Sol LeWitt. Installations of his Wall Drawings were encountered by visitors in our gallery spaces in 1984, 1988, 2001 and 2004. Thanks in no small part to the friendship and loyalty of this significant and exceptional artist personality, we can now look back on forty years of gallery history. In a poignant way, the span of a lifetime is thus brought into view. The new Wall Drawing 'Scribble' # 15 is the center of a small homage to Sol LeWitt through May 23. And through October 3, it shall remain the focal point of further activities: 'Spaces' offers an opportunity to see groups of works by artists who have helped shape the profile and history of the gallery.
Artists of the Gallery – Selected Works
June 18 to July 7, 2018
AGNES MARTIN Religion of Love | RICHARD TUTTLE Illustration
Publishers: Estate of Agnes Martin Dream Tree Project, Inc. Richard Tuttle Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne, Germany
Paintings on Paper
Editors: Michael Semff, Gianfranco Verna