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Sol LeWitt Wall Pieces: John Kaldor Art Project

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)


30 Jul 1998 to 29 Nov 1998

Curator: Nicholas Baume

About the exhibition

In the 1960s Sol Lewitt was a principal figure in the development of Minimal and Conceptual art, however his ability to move between and across movements allowed him to become one of the most influential figures in contemporary art.

One of the most important areas of LeWitt’s work began with his first 'wall drawing’ in 1968. Reducing art to its essential elements, he drew with black pencil straight onto the wall. For LeWitt, this process was more direct than drawing on a sheet of paper that would later be hung in a gallery. LeWitt developed this aspect of his art, expanding his media to include coloured pencil, crayon, chalk, ink, collage, and now paint.

For Sol Lewitt Wall Pieces, the MCA was transformed, with some of the largest walls in the Museum being covered by works. Sol Lewitt believed that the development of Conceptual art saw all planning and decision making complete beforehand and the execution of the work as a perfunctory exercise. This attitude was evident in the realisation of these works: under the supervision of Lewitt’s assistant Sachiko Cho, highly skilled artisans from the MCA along with students from local art schools created these pieces, with Lewitt arriving only to ensure that his conception had been realised accurately.

Wall Drawing #876 highlighted Lewitt’s dynamic range, filling an entire wall with a chaotic collision of colours and eccentrically curvaceous forms. This work was a stark rebuttal to the pieces which comprised the majority of the exhibition: elegantly severe black on black pieces, distinguished only through the varied application of gloss and flat acrylics. The distinction between the highly coloured work and the black on black suite served as a reminder of Lewitt’s ambition to continue to expand his practical range after more than three decades of practice.