Sol LeWitt

[no title]


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Sol LeWitt 1928–2007
Etching on paper
Image: 400 × 406 mm
Purchased 1982

Catalogue entry

P07662 [from] The Location of Six Geometric Figures 1975 [P07660-P07665; complete]

Six etchings 15 3/4 × 16 (400 × 406) on paper 24 × 19 7/8 (608 × 506), printed by Kathan Brown at Crown Point Press, Oakland, California and published by Parasol Press, New York
Each inscribed ‘LeWitt’ b.r. and ‘2/25’ and ‘i/iv’ - ‘vi/vi’; each stamped on the back with the printer's name
Purchased from Lisson Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1982
Repr: Sol LeWitt, Graphik 1970–1975, Basel, 1975, pp.62–7

The following entry is based on a conversation between the compiler and the artist held on 27 November 1985 in London and has been approved by the artist. Each print consists of a text which provides details of the location within a square of a geometric figure. Each print concerns a different figure, the range being a circle, a square, a triangle, a rectangle, a parallelogram and a trapezoid. Above each text is an image which is a visual analogue of the text, for not only are the figures themselves portrayed but also the points which have been plotted and the lines drawn in order to locate the figures. The square in which each figure is located is defined by the borders of the plate mark.

In each case the writing of the text preceded the mapping out of the image. The image was worked out on paper before it was etched onto the plate, which the artist did himself. He chose etching as the medium because hard ground etching seemed an ideal way of making fine black and grey lines. The lines themselves are broken or solid, the solid variety defining only the figure, the broken lines signifying the constructional lines required to plot the outline of the figure but which do not form part of the figure itself. There are three different kinds of broken lines all with different functions.

The principle underlying the conception of the series is that the figures would be placed in a complex way and that the text would be complex to read. In achieving complexity only simple concepts were expressed in the most sparing but informative manner. All points are plotted relative to others and the only measurement employed is the half. Thus one point might be halfway between two others or a combination of others. The artist likens the system involved to that employed in plotting navigational routes and stated: ‘As soon as you find one point you can find another by finding its relation to any other point.’

Since the image was drawn on paper first and etched afterwards it was necessary to reverse the instructions indicating right and left because the image would be reversed in the printing.

One other similar print exists which is apart from the series. It was published in German and entitled ‘Die Plazierung eines Vierecks’. In this print the four sided figure does not have right-angled corners.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986

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