Structured Art

Sol LeWitt is a minimalist and a conceptual artist that based his practice in basic geometry. He became well known in the late 1960s for his structures and wall drawings. He is regarded as one of the leading roles in the Conceptual movement. LeWitt believes the idea could be the work of art, thus he stressed the idea behind his work over its execution. In his work, LeWitt applied lines, basic colors and simplified shapes to formulate different equation for each of his work. The equation often suggests involving mathematical and architectural, but it was not necessarily logical according to LeWitt. He said “”Conceptual artists are mystics rather than rationalists. They leap to conclusions that logic cannot reach.”

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In LeWitt’s conceptual pieces takes on basic material form that are not necessary produced by his own hands. In accomplishing his artwork, he would provide his assistants with instructions for producing the work of art. Thus, no matter if it’s a large- scale wall drawing or sculptures, the result might not completely controlled by LeWitt since he gives the authority of creating his artwork to his assistants. He focuses more on the progress and material of producing the art more than the meaning the art perceived by the viewers.

lewitt_cubesincoloretclrgLeWitt’s Cubes in Color on Color used color is to express the cube’s limitless number of possible combinations. The arrangement of the cubes might seem random, but it is systemic and consistent with his conceptual approach. The cubes were displayed in a six-by-five grid. The color of the cubes in each row are same, progressing from red to yellow, to blue, then to orange, green, and purple, from the top. In the background, the color also progresses diagonally, beginning with yellow at the top left corner. In LeWitt’s work, we see how he explores system and idea more than putting excessive effort on finding industrial material like the other minimalist painters. As the contrast, he appreciates the sense of ephemeral and impermanence of Conceptual art. Thus, he let the traditional materials to demonstrate their own nature of vulnerability and decay.

splotch_three_jul_05                                                    Installation of five fiberglass structures  


Wall Drawing No. 681 C is completed by two of LeWitt’s studio assistants following by his instruction described this way: a wall divided vertically into four equal squares, separated and bordered by black bands. Within each square, bands in one of four directions, each with color ink washes superimposed. The texture in the color bands was achieved by applying multiple layers of color ink washes, using ink-soaked cloths rubbed in a circular motion. His works are described to hit the viewers through their eye, and hit the viewers through their mind.

LeWitt’s theory of applying his own equation on producing art reminds me of the quote from the choreographer of QUANTUM,Gilles Jobin said, “You don’t have to know anything about physics, it’s not a demonstration or explanation of scientific concepts…Now that I know that everything is moving, that we are mostly made of emptiness, that our bodies are holding together with incredible forces, it feels different to move my body.” The idea of art entwined with physics is fascinating because physics gives art a new perspective to view art and art gives physics a stage to show its elegance.


Wei- Yin (Annie) , Cheng


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