A white line going all the way up to the sky: Sol LeWitt’s ‘Spiral’ at Bonnefantenmuseum (‘Extended Drawing’, Maastricht)

Wonder what this is? It’s me and my camera, looking up at the top of the Cupola at Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht. Looking at a small part of maybe one of Sol LeWitt’s most amazing wall drawings: #801: Spiral. Standing in that Cupola, looking at what appear to be lots of parallel, horizontal white lines, but what is in fact one slightly sloping line covering all of those walls, gave me a really strange, zen-like feeling. LeWitt’s Spiral is part of Extended drawing (through January 15), a beautiful exhibition worth going to Maastricht for (as I had promised: my X-mas tip n°2). It focuses on the work of four artists who have made drawing central to their oeuvre: Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Bruce Nauman and Richard Serra. More pics after the jump.

So this is what it really looks like, that huge Cupola and Sol LeWitt’s Wall drawing, donated in 2002 to the Dutch museum. Six of his wall drawings are presented in Maastricht, with four of his other works, as part of Extended drawing, an exhibition focusing on four American artists who have used drawing ‘to strip art of (easy) sentimentality and an over-emphasized subjectivity’, as curator (and soon to be ex-director of the museum) Alexander van Grevenstein writes in the exhibition catalogue.

‘Working as they are on the margins of movements such as Minimal and Concept, they play a leading role in cleaning up art, in which sentimentality, commerce and superficiality so easily conspire’, he continues. ‘With their profound artistic insights, these four artists have successfully liberated this modest medium (drawing) from its old traditions.’

At first glance, it might seem strange to combine works of these four great artists, as they appear to be completely different. LeWitt’s elegant wall drawings, Bruce Nauman’s neons referring to sex and violence, Robert Mangold’s ‘shaped canvasses’ and the black linen canvases by Richard Serra, an artist who is known mainly for his large-scale sculptures. But by looking at these works, you start seeing things they have in common. The differences and the similarities make you think. And even if you don’t want to think: it’s still a great exhibition, with works of art by four outstanding artists.

For a short clip by Chris Teerink about ‘drawing’ Sol LeWitt’s ‘Wall drawing #801’ at Bonnefantenmuseum, click here. Teerink is working on a documentary about LeWitt’s work. More info here.


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