- Sol Lewitt
- Corner Piece #4
white painted wood
John Weber Gallery, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above in February 1980
Sol Lewitt was linked to many different movements including Conceptual and Minimalist art. Lewitt moved to New York in the 1950's after he served in the Korean war, when Abstract Expressionism had become a well-established style, one which Lewitt believed brought forth few new creative potentials to the contemporary artists of the day. Through the use of simple, geometric forms, Lewitt created complex works by repeating and varying simple structures and lines. Lewitt's new approach negates the beliefs of the artists of his time, proving art is not unique or precise.
Sol Lewitt's frequent use of open, modular structures originates from the cube, rooted in the tradition of Cubism and heightened by his interest in architecture. The cube is the form which influenced the
artist's thinking from the time he first became an artist. Working primarily in the medium of paintings, drawing, and "structures" these works are often free standing, floor based works that are also located against walls or in corners. They are also hung on walls or as flat reliefs projecting into a raw space. When Lewitt began working three- dimensional structures seemed clear and uncluttered. He began painting the structures black, to heighten the framework and linear structures. Shortly, he moved to white paint, which would lessen the perspicuity of the structure. Meanwhile he decided to use a fixed ratio between the material of the structure and space it described at 8.5:1, establishing analytical instructions he conceived and typed out. His team would then execute those instructions.
The white, open modular structures based on the cube led to a new vocabulary with endless variety and opening up great possibilities. As seen in Corner Piece #4, Lewitt's thinking achieved a new simplicity and clarity that was never seen before. Corner Piece #4, though more elaborate and complex, is truly Minimal.
Walking around the structure will reveal the many alternative points of view created by the use of one common form repeated and often used to create various series of structures that Lewitt would produce in series. Resembling an architectural model, Lewitt's relief is a postmodern celebration of the complexity of modern thinking and design.