Don’t miss this important exhibition of the late great conceptual artist Sol LeWitt. Words by Stephen Lacey
April 14th, 2014
Penelope Seidler still remembers the afternoon the great American conceptual artist Sol LeWitt knocked at the door of her Killara home. “He walked in and the first thing he noticed was the Emily Kngwarreye that we have on the wall; he recognised it immediately and told us how much he loved indigenous art,” she says. “We had a long lunch and he and Harry (architect, Harry Seidler) got along so well.
The year was 1998 and LeWitt was in Sydney for his exhibition at the MCA. Seidler took the opportunity to show him the foyer space in the almost-completed Horizon Tower, where he commissioned the artist to create a large wall-painting. According to Penelope Seidler it was somewhat of a saga to convince Horizon’s body corporate to approve the commission. Apparently owner-resident Harry M Miller though an Australian artist should have been enlisted instead. On Christmas Day 1998 Seidler himself did a leaflet drop to residents, showing photos of the LeWitt as it would appear in the lobby and asking for support, which was eventually granted.
The bold design which was installed during the following year, resulted in the most unforgettable lobby entrance in the city; a pyramid of blue, yellow, green, red and purple, juxtaposed against Seidler’s typically minimalist palette of cream travertine walls and dark granite.
The piece was such a success that it was LeWitt who Seidler turned to in 2002 to create a new work for the foyer in Australia Square, after the existing Corbusier and Vasarely tapestries had faded.
The artist’s involvement with Horizon and Australia Square are catalogued, along with personal correspondence to the Seidlers, in the new exhibition that opened last week at the Art Gallery of NSW – Sol LeWitt: Your mind is exactly at that line.
Born in 1928, LeWitt became a pioneer of conceptual art, and championed the notion of the idea over the actual making of art (he instructed others how to produce his wall drawings and structures). LeWitt was not interested in imagery or narrative allusions but in the concept itself.
This new exhibition looks at 40 years of his practice and includes four new wall drawings, three of which have been created in Australia for the first time. Two specialist LeWitt assistants travelled from Helsinki and Berlin to oversee the creation of the drawings.
Sol LeWitt: Your mind is exactly at that line is curated by Natasha Bullock, curator, contemporary art, Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Images: Sol LeWitt in Horizon tower © Eric Sierins Photography
Sol LeWitt Wall Drawing #898: Irregular horizontal bands of color within a triangle; acrylic paint on fibreboard panels, designed 1998, installed April 1999
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