Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing / 2016

Sol LeWitt (1928-2007), executed his first wall drawing in 1968 at the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York. By drawing directly on the wall, the work’s duration was limited and it also allowed him to achieve his objective of reinforcing flatness and making a work as two-dimensional as possible.

Although LeWitt drew Wall Drawing #1 on Paula Cooper’s gallery wall himself, he soon found that a team of assistants could oftentimes install his work better. He believed that the idea of his work superseded the art itself. Believing that the idea of his work superseded the art itself, he wrote in Paragraphs on Conceptual Art, that “When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes the machine that makes the art.”

After moving to Italy in the late 1970s, where LeWitt saw the frescoes of Fra Angelico, Giotto and Piero della Francesca in local churches and convents, he began experimenting with India ink and color ink wash. By the 1980s, LeWitt had developed a system for superimposing gray pigments, which resulted in a rich surface, quality and texture.

In the early 1990s, LeWitt began exploring floating isometric shapes in many of his ink wash wall drawings. Wall Drawing 532, features several tilted and floating cubes. The cube had figured in LeWitt’s art throughout his career, both in sculpture where it formed the basic unit of many of his systems, and in his wall drawings.

The rendering of these tilted cubes suggests both space and flatness. Rather than drafting the forms using linear perspective, LeWitt drafts them isometrically, a technique in which the cubes are tilted toward the viewer to indicate three-dimensionality without compromising the flatness of the wall.

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