Something to try at home too? Sol LeWitt’s ‘Wall drawing #792’ at Gladstone Gallery

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Just some black rectangles and squares on white walls. And nevertheless they had a mesmerizing effect on me. Was it just because they fit that stately uptown house in Brussels that well, with those parquet floors, white ceilings and black window-sills? Is it really just a question of aesthetics or is there more going on? And so I found myself looking through quite a few books and internet sites, after my recent visit to Gladstone Gallery, wanting to know more about Sol LeWitt and his wall drawings. Anyone who’s interested in the work of this American conceptual and minimal artist (1928-2007) should drop by at the gallery, for this well-executed version of Wall drawing #792: black rectangles and squares. It was first installed in ’95 for the Schlossfestspiele in the German city of Ludwigsburg. Over the course of his career LeWitt produced more than 1.200 of these wall drawings. You can have a look at 105 of them, thanks to the internet and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. They have put every single wall drawing of their unique Wall drawing retrospective – on view at the museum through 2033 (!) – on an excellent website. Click here, for instance, for their version of Wall drawing #792. A quote from a MoMa-catalogue that sheds some light on LeWitt’s working-method: ‘LeWitt compared his role to that of a composer who creates a score that may be played by musicians for generations to come. The concept (or score) remains constant, but the wall drawing, like a musical performance, will vary slightly each time it is realized anew.’ Composer? Which reminds me: don’t forget to look at the floor, next time you visit the entrance hall of De Munt/La Monnaie. It is by Sol LeWitt too. (Sol LeWitt, Gladstone Gallery, Brussels, on view through October 30; installation views courtesy Gladstone Gallery).

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