Sol LeWitt 1928-2007


ARTIST ROOMS artist essay

Sol LeWitt was one of the pioneers of Conceptual and Minimalist art during the 1960s, coining the term ‘conceptual art’ in 1967. He rejected the subjective and expressionistic art forms that dominated the mainstream during the 1950s and early 1960s in the United States and instead strove to privilege the idea. In his famous Sentences on Conceptual Art written in 1969, LeWitt noted that, ‘Conceptual artists are mystics rather than rationalists. They leap to conclusions which logic cannot reach’, continuing. ‘Once the idea of the piece is established in the artist's mind and the final form is decided, the process is carried out blindly. There are many side effects that the artist cannot imagine. These may be used as ideas for new works.’

His early sculptural works used geometric shapes, seriality and pre-determined structures to break away from the personal and emotive gestures of Abstract Expressionism. The artist’s numerous Wall Drawings employ systems which enable line to exist as an independent entity and take the form of a set of instructions which are then produced by assistants. His early works are characteristically monochrome, often articulated in charcoal and pencil, but LeWitt later introduced vibrant colour palettes into his practice. The single room work included in ARTIST ROOMS, Wall Drawing #1136 (2004) is a late example where coloured straight and non-straight lines are painted directly onto the four walls of a gallery space to create a three-dimensional environment which surrounds the viewer.