Between the Eyes: Minimalist & Conceptual Art

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Launch Slideshow

From the pioneering works of the 1960s to the art of today, the pieces in Between the Eyes play with how viewers experience colour and form and how ideas can transition into physical objects. Featuring major artists like Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd, Dan Flavin and Damien Hirst, this exhibition offers a fresh look at key developments in the past 60 years of art.

Between the Eyes
5 February–25 March | London

Between the Eyes: Minimalist & Conceptual Art

  • Donald Judd, Untitled (Menziken 88-89), 1988.
    “I am not interested in the kind of expression that you have when you paint a painting with brush strokes. It's all right, but it's already done, and I want to do something new.” In direct opposition to the tenets of Abstract Expressionism, Donald Judd rejected traditional painting and sculpture to create Minimalist works of art that were free from any trace of the artist’s hand or emotion. He used industrial materials, techniques and finishes to create simplified objects, which did not refer to anything beyond themselves.

  • Dan Flavin, Untitled (to Charlotte), 1987.
    Dan Flavin is most well known for working with the medium of fluorescent light. But rather than creating works of art to be seen as objects in themselves, he used the commercially available light tubes to create spaces of colour that encompass the viewer. “It is what it is, and it ain’t nothin’ else,” he said of his work. “And it is very easy to understand. One might not think of light as a matter of fact, but I do. And it is, as I said, as plain and open and direct an art as you will ever find.”

  • Joseph Kosuth, Four Colors Four Words (Orange-Violet-Green-Blue), 1966.
    Four Colors Four Words was made in 1966 while Joseph Kosuth was still a student at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Drawing influence from analytical philosophy, his neon signs, like much of his work, are self-referential. Four Colors Four Words is a tautology: it exactly represents what is written, four words in four neon colours. It addresses semiotics in art and how a work relates to how it is portrayed and spoken about.

  • Wade Guyton, Untitled, 2008.
    Wade Guyton is best known for his works on paper and canvas that exploit the painterly but erratic qualities of Inkjet printers. Using large-format printers on pre-primed linen intended for oil painting, Guyton generates random variations and patterns. Paper jams, leaking toner cartridges and formatting errors become humorous references to how we are both increasingly reliant upon, and handicapped by, modern technology.

  • Sol LeWitt, #1, 1984.
    One of the leading exponents of Conceptual art, Sol LeWitt valued the idea behind his work over its execution. His “structures” were variations on geometric shapes constructed from steel, polyurethane, or concrete, often featuring stacked cubes without sides. Using painted aluminium, LeWitt developed a delicate form that addresses the architecture of the room, accessing its negative and positive spaces at the same time.

  • Robert Mangold, Curved plane/ figure viii (study), 1995.
    Since the 1960s, Mangold has developed an artistic vocabulary derived from the idea of geometry and asymmetry in shape and form. His use of delicate colours and curvilinear abstract forms are associated with Minimalism but recall other sources from Ancient Greek pottery to Renaissance frescoes. He coined the idea of “Painting as Wall,” in which the canvas seems to become an essential part of the architectural structure of the wall.

  • Robert Ryman, Manual, 1993-2004.
    Often associated with Minimalism, Conceptual art and Monochrome painting, Robert Ryman has reduced his painting to the minimum: the square format and the colour white. Differing in scale and texture, his paintings draw the eye towards the brush strokes and the depth of paint.

  • Rudolf Stingel, Untitled, 1995.
    In 1989, Stingel published Instructions, an illustrated booklet showing how to make one of his silver paintings . Stingel’s artworks play around the concept of “creating,” questioning the idea of authorship. As the depository of chance marks and gestures, the canvas in Stingel’s perspective draws attention to its own materiality, highlighting the delicate details of the technique and colours.

  • Damien Hirst, Azelaic Acid, 1995.
    “With the spot paintings,” Damien Hirst explained, “I probably discovered the most fundamentally important thing in any kind of art. Which is the harmony of where colour can exist on its own, interacting with other colours in a perfect format.” The titles of these paintings are taken arbitrarily from the chemical company Sigma-Aldrich’s catalogue Biochemicals for Research and Diagnostic Reagents, a book Hirst stumbled across in the early 1990s.

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