New York-based American artist Lawrence Weiner (b. 1942) has been one of the leading figures of the conceptual art movement since the 1960s and is today considered one of the world’s most important contemporary artists. His text-based ‘slogans’ that he defines as sculptures have appeared in the permanent collections, as public art commissions and exhibited in major museums and private collections around the world.
His notion that the conception of a work of art and its presentation through language as a sufficient means to render an artwork resulted in a groundbreaking approach to art and its presentation. Earlier works tended to be more art-specific in a conceptual dialogue, whereas newer works are often more lyrical and playful, opening up and embellishing Weiner’s 1968 “declaration of intent”:
1 AN ARTIST MAY CONSTRUCT A WORKLawrence Weiner
2 A WORK MAY BE FABRICATED
3 A WORK NEED NOT BE BUILT
A REASONABLE ASSUMPTION IS THAT EACH BEING EQUAL AND
CONSISTENT WITH THE INTENT OF THE ARTIST THE DECISION AS
TO CONDITION RESTS WITH THE NEEDS OF THE RECEIVER UPON
THE OCCASION OF RECEIVERSHIP
The Public Space has played an important role throughout Weiner's career. His slogans in sculptural form have been mounted on the facades of public buildings around the world, translated into countless languages. He states: “The work requires a formal situation in order to be presented, walls were built for things to be put upon them” and refers to the inextricable relationship between an artwork and it’s context. Once conceived an artwork exists whether constructed or not, but importantly that artwork requires a site, be it a museum wall, a billboard, a matchbox or a building exterior. It can be permanent or temporary but needs a formal situation that addresses the “relationship of human beings to objects and objects to objects in relationship to human beings”
The most important thing for the existence of a work of art, according to Weiner, is not the physical presence but the fact that someone experiences it: the viewer, the recipient. He believes that it should be completely free for each each individual viewer, with their own personal wishes and needs, to interpret the work. In this way he promotes a kind of universal accessibility to art.
Weiner seeks a radical redefinition of the relationship between artist and viewer, and at the same time an eternal movement in his works. They are never placed in a finite location, but are redefined again and again for each encounter with a new viewer.
The work is installed permanently and on view throughout 2020 and the coming seasons.