Lawrence Weiner is one of the most influential artists of our day. Among the accolades he has received in his life, Weiner has been honored with the internationally recognized Roswitha Haftmann Prize for lifetime achievement here in Zurich this May.
From his inclusion in european legendary exhibitions as op losse schroeven/Square Pegs in Round Holes in Amsterdam and When Attitudes Become Form in Bern, in1969, to his ensuing statements, drawings, films and books that appear wherever he exhibits, he has become a figurehead of the international art world. His public works are to be found in ma- jor museums from Barcelona to Amsterdam, from Copenhagen to Cologne, from New York City to Zurich. He has partici- pated in several iterations of documenta in Kassel: his first in 1972 (documenta V) and most recently in 2012 (documenta 13). His work there, THE MIDDLE OF THE MIDDLE OF THE MIDDLE OF appeared in Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev’s central „Brain“ and was sprayed on one of the sole surviving Hugenot buildings in the city’s center. He has participated in several events at the Venice Biennale, most recently in 2013, for The Written Art Foundation of Frankfurt. There, he used his work, THE GRACE OF A GESTURE also as the title of the show, emblazoned on many of the city’s vaporetti with the work translated in opposing languages [and some opposing cultures] on the vaporetti’s starboard and leeboard sides. He has created many works for public spaces, such as SMASHED TO PIECES (IN THE STILL OF THE NIGHT) in Vienna and BALL BEARINGS OR ROUND STONES MADE TO ROLL OUTSIDE OF WHAT THERE IS in Zurich, to mention a few.
In a signature work from 1968, A 36“ X 36“ REMOVAL TO THE LATHING OR SUPPORT WALL OF PLASTER OR WALLBOARD FROM A WALL he ‚literally’ removed the wall material to the dimensions stated, to its ‚support.’ He cre- ated a „presence of absence“ that he described as pure sculpture at the time. By ceding ‚space’ that is conventionally occupied by the artist for the viewer, Lawrence Weiner empowers viewers to shift their focus to their own perceptions. As he puts it, ART IS AND MUST BE AN EMPIRICAL REALITY CONCERNED WITH THE RELATIONSHIPS OF HUMAN BEINGS TO OB- JECTS AND OBJECTS TO OBJECTS IN RELATION TO HUMAN BEINGS.
In his artistic praxis, Lawrence Weiner has come to the conclusion that language and graphical signage can function as the specifically material aspect of sculpture. He describes himself as a sculptor who produces sculptures. As a material- ist, he relies on the power of language as objectification. Frequently he presents his work in the manner of the relation- ships that can be forged in words that are inscribed, cast, stuck, glued or painted on walls or floors or the ground - even buildings.
It is in the context of their presentation that his works come into their own. They are notions and associations that take shape in the mind, in the multiple references that any person viewing the work chooses it to be. The works are forged in the relationship between the sense of place and the eye and mind of the beholder.
In 1968, Lawrence Weiner formulated an enduring Statement of Intent that accompanies his work:
1. THE ARTIST MAY CONSTRUCT THE WORK
2. THE WORK MAY BE FABRICATED
3. THE WORK NEED NOT BE BUILT
EACH BEING EQUAL AND CONSISTENT WITH THE INTENT OF THE ARTIST THE DECISION AS TO CONDITION RESTS WITH THE RECEIVER
UPON THE OCCASION OF RECEIVERSHIP
Mai 36 Galerie has represented Lawrence Weiner since its inception in 1988. We are delighted to present a new, solo exhibition by this artist. WITHIN GRASP will include both old and new work, as well as a Wunderkammer view of Weiner’s work over the years, in the showroom of Mai 36 Gallery. (Text: Axel Jablonski)