Sol LeWitt. Line, space and dimension

Sol LeWitt. Line, space and dimension

“Never did eye see the sun unless it had first become sunlike, and never can the soul have vision of the First Beauty unless itself be beautiful.” (Plotinus, The Enneads)

Regularity and irregularity. In Sol LeWitt there is a constant dialogue among these two fundamental dimensions: unity of the opposite elements.  Conceptual and neoplatonic art. Research of a spatial and temporal form, starting from the idea, from the mental process. An aesthetical adventure, extraordinarily accurate, lasted from the Sixties to the Two-Thousands, in the attempt to explicit the archetype of the vision. The primary element of this study is the line, that becomes square, cube, polyhedro, mural painting, environmental installation.
The show Sol LeWitt. Between the Lines, at The Fondazione Carriero in Milan, offers an important reflection on the work realized by the American artist along his life. Twenty-three works are presented: seven Wall Drawings, fifteen sculptures and one photographic installation, wisely distribute on the three floors of the exhibition centre. The point of view chosen by the curators, Francesco Stocchi and Rem Koolhaas, it is particularly interesting, a perspective that allows to appreciate the important relationship between the work of LeWitt and the architecture. The show is focused on three fundamental poles, continually connected: the surface of the Wall Drawings, the volume of the sculptures and the spatial peculiarity of the exhibition rooms. It emerges a sense of a deep harmony, it is possible to feel the equilibrium between emotionality and thought: it could perhaps speak of a sentimental rationality.

In the Room 7 there is the whole visual and sensorial potential that springs from the calibrated and careful mixture of these elements. The Wall Drawing #51 turns the entry into a grid of blue lines, prolific and thin germination that appears like a spatial threshold. In the middle of the room there is The Wall Drawing #150, an irregular polyhedro, on whose ten-thousand segments are gently distributed. On the left side there are four recesses that contain five works of LeWitt. The works presented in this way  – Structure with Standing Figure, Geometric Figure #9 (+), Complex Form #34, Corner Piece 1 2 3 4 5 6, Geometric Figure #10 (/) – set the spectator in a contemplative dimension, forcing him to take time for the vision. The whole room becomes a place of contemplation and reflection. An aesthetical experience that gives the possibility of a mystical moment, made of silence, observation and understanding.
It was Sol LeWitt in 1969 to affirm that: “Conceptual artists are mystics rather than rationalists. They leap to conclusions that logic cannot reach.”.
It is this meditative attitude that we need for intensely appreciating the complexity of the whole show. It is necessary a patient and reflexive gaze, starting from the Wall Drawing #263 at the entrance of  the exhibition. In this artwork we can see the creative methodology proper of the artist. In the same way, slowly moving, we can feel the expressive strength created by the cohabitation among the Wall Drawing #1267 and the Inverted Spiraling Tower in the Room 3: the sensuality of the curve and the composure of the geometric structure give a different life to the space.

The staircase that connects the three floors of the Foundation becomes also a place of experimentation and vision. The Wall Drawing #46, with bent lines, climbs from the floor to the ceiling on the back wall.
In the Room 5 we find the famous primary structures of Sol LeWitt: white and geometric, able to modify the environment. In the nearby space we see three other sculptures, here the equilibrium is formal and chromatic at the same time, there is a beautiful rhythm created by the yellow, the black and the white.
Climbing again the staircase, always accompanied by the Wall Drawing #46, we arrive to the last room. We are struck by a feeling of amazing assonance, coming from the presence of baroque decorations, black segments on an enormous mirror (Wall Drawing #1104) and a geometric tower (8x8x1). The vision is reflected. The patterns on the wall are the same ones of the first work in show, the tower ideally converses with the one at the ground floor. At the end, quoting Gombrich, everything seems to be in the right place. There is the sense of a deep balance. The essential art is based on a primary element: the line.

Andrea Grotteschi

Sol LeWitt. Between the Lines
November, 17 2017 – June, 24 2018
Fondazione Carriero
via Cino del Duca 4 Milano

Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #263: A wall divided into 16 equal parts with all one-, two-, three-, four- part combinations of lines in four directions, 1975

Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #150: Ten thousand one-inch (2.5cm) lines evenly spaced on each of six walls, 1972 and Wall Drawing #51: All architectural points connected by straight lines, 1970

Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #1267: Scribbles, 2010

Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #1104: All combinations of lines in four directions. Lines do not have to be drawn straight (with a ruler), 2003 and 8x8x1, 1989


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