A new exhibition of Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings at Spain’s Fundación Botín celebrates the artist’s creative process
In an article published in a 1967 edition of Artforum, titled ’Paragraphs on Conceptual Art’, Sol LeWitt stated, ’All intervening steps, scribbles, sketches, drawings, failed work models, studies, thoughts, conversations, are of interest. Those that show the thought process of the artist are sometimes more interesting than the final product.’ So, we imagine he would be rather pleased with a new exhibition of his work at Spain’s Fundación Botín in Santander, Spain, which is devoted entirely to 17 of the American artist’s wall drawings.
Curators Benjamin Weil, the Botín Centre’s Artistic Director, and John Hogan, Director of Installations and Archivist of Wall Drawings at the Yale University Art Gallery (who notably also worked as a drawer for LeWitt from 1982) have selected just 17 wall drawings from LeWitt’s back catalogue of some 1,200, that were realised between 1968 to 2007. LeWitt viewed his wall drawings as an ephemeral materialisation of a work of art, which were realised using a simple set of logical or mathematical instructions. As a result, the works could be erased and recreated in another space by someone else, freeing them from the restrictions imposed on unique artworks.
The majority of the selected works, executed between 1970 and 2015, have not been seen publicly for over twenty years; in particular Wall Drawing 7A and Wall Drawing 110, which will be executed for the first time in the Fundación Botín’s exhibition space by a team of drawers, who formerly worked with LeWitt, aided by young artists and art students.
Collectively the works track his stylistic and conceptual development, shifting from simple geometric figures to ’continuous’ and ’complex’ forms rendered in graphite, then colour pencils, before moving to India ink and acrylic paint.
To contextualise the work in the rest of LeWitt’s oeuvre, the Lafuente Archive - a key international collection specialising in 20th century art - has complemented the exhibition with a selection of LeWitt’s books (he dedicated a substantial part of his career to producing them) and a collection of documents related to the artist and his work, which will be on display in the exhibition.
Also worth keeping an eye out for is the Botín Centre; currently under construction, the new Renzo Piano-designed building (his first in Spain) will function as a world-class art centre for the development of creativity through the arts.