Sunday, April 24, 2011

Arcs and Lines


Artist: Sol Lewitt

Exhibition: Sept 16, 2006- Sept 2010

March 14,2011

I was drawn to the abstract drawings on the walls inside the Dia Beacon the installation by Sol Lewitt. As an American artist, he was one of the leading representatives of Minimalism and Conceptual Art. His large scale wall drawing installations occupy the interior walls inside the Dia Beacon, New York. Lewitt used a visual vocabulary in which he created monumental drawings the size of paintings through color, lines and geometrical forms. Sol Lewitt’s drawings re-use the wall as a surface for his artwork and uses materials such as pencils, brushes, paper, crayon and ink to draw.

It is interesting what he thinks about the relation between the work and the viewer. Sol Lewitt said his work is “made to engage the mind of the viewer rather than his eye or his emotions” (Paragraphs on Conceptual Art, Sol Lewitt 1969). As I walked through the space, both my mind and eye engages with Sol Lewitt’s installation, which affects my emotions too. Plainly, through simple geometric forms and color he questions the combination of sculpture, drawing, and painting. Using complex forms would confuse the work, however, with Lewitt, simple form diminish the arrangement of the space as a property of the architecture as installation site.

Transforming this nonexistence to a concrete form with which the viewer engages, Lewitt’s drawings create an experience by amalgamating painting, drawings and geometrical sculptures. Sol Lewitt’s works explore ideas such as ephemerality and time through space. His art is formed by one artist (himself) and then carried out through collaboration (by written instructions). This continuity enables his work to expand beyond his physical presence. “The idea becomes a machine that makes the art“ (Paragraphs on Conceptual Art, Sol Lewitt 1969). Once it is out of the artist’s hand, there is no more control in how the viewer will experience the work. This adaptation strongly engages and expresses Sol Lewitt’s concern to make his work mentally interesting to the viewer. As such, the simplicity is a very successful idea but his methods of creation – collaboration brings up larger issues concerning practice within the art world. One of the issues that Lewitt’s methodologies address is the idea of authorship. Presented as a plan through instructions, sketches, scribbles and drawings to form a finished product, who, then, creates the work? Lewitt’s artwork questions not only the idea of copywrite but also how “presciousness” is applied towards art as an object. How can the artwork be a commodity at the same time as being ephemeral?

Cristina Guerreiro

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