Lawrence Weiner (New York, the United States, 1942) is one of the representatives of Conceptual and post-Minimalism art whose work can be placed next to American artists from the same generation such as Joseph Kosuth and Robert Barry. Documenta 5 at Kassel and the Venice Biennale strengthened a career that began in the early sixties researching new formats. It is language, however, that is his ultimate tool, appearing repeatedly in his work.
In the Statement of Intent Lawrence Weiner publishes in 1969, the artist asserts: "Works of Art do need not be constructed". By stating this, the New York artist takes a clear stance in the debate on the role of the spectator / receiver in the artwork. The actual perception of the person contemplating is one of the concerns that is present in Weiner’s work.
These installations at the Palacio de Cristal have their interventions at the statue of the Fallen Angel in the Parque del Retiro and at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Library. With this distribution in several spaces Weiner wishes to propose a tour of the city, just like a gaze that travels the words that constitute his pieces.
In this project, created specifically for the occasion, Weiner uses language as a mode of public sculpture, erecting new spaces for the reflection on art. The meaning of the words used, the grammar and punctuation signs are all joined to the characteristics of the media -among which include: the typography, body of the letter, colour and the graphic arrangement- to make up the sculptural component.
Gold, silver, emeralds, steel, salt or diamonds are some of the concepts that can be read in the windows of the Pavilion. They refer to the materials and therefore make up the piece. The sun penetrates through vinyl stencils placed on the roof of the building; this makes the words inside move with the hour of the day. Thus, the piece can be read from the inside, outside or through the projection on the ground. Also shaping Weiner’s work at this time is the dynamic between materiality / immateriality.
For the texts the artist has used, as is usual with him, English and the language where the installation is located. The title of the exhibition, Por sí mismo/Per se, refers to substance as opposed to accidents. This metaphysical name suggests the absence of manipulation on the piece while it stresses that the materials used are not metaphorical but literal.
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