lawrence weiner: written on the wind
21 Sep 2013 - 5 Jan 2014
A comprehensive survey of works on paper by Lawrence Weiner (b. New York, 1942), one of the most culturally engaged artists of our time.
The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam presents OP DE WIND GESCHREVEN / WRITTEN ON THE WIND – Drawings by Lawrence Weiner, the first major exhibition devoted to works on paper by Lawrence Weiner (b. 1942, Bronx, New York), one of the most culturally engaged artists of our time. The exhibition is organized by the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), where it premiered earlier this year, and co-produced with the Stedelijk Museum.
WRITTEN ON THE WIND comprises an extensive survey of nearly 300 drawings produced over a fifty-year period. The exhibition takes visitors on a journey through the artist’s remarkable trajectory in drawing— from cartoons, notebooks, and otherwise unseen working material and sketches, together with formal works on paper. The exhibition is narrated by his gestural graphics, leading the viewer into the sensibility of Weiner’s oeuvre. Many works contain his initial thoughts and ideas that are often seen transformed into the artists sculptural works using language. Drawing is at the origin and underlines his entire production; the exhibition itself is organized as if it were a drawing in and of itself, as the exhibition has been composed by the artist in a specially designed architectural installation for the Stedelijk’s monumental lower-level gallery space in the new wing.
Ann Goldstein, director of the Stedelijk Museum: “This remarkably beautiful and affecting exhibition gives us the unprecedented opportunity to consider this significant aspect of Weiner’s work, which is
at once profoundly intimate and powerfully insightful. With these works, we can participate in the production of meaning that is at the core of Weiner’s distinctive use of language.”
One of the central figures associated with the emergence and foundations of Conceptual art in the 1960s, Weiner remains one of the most significant artists working today. Weiner‘s work consists of “language + the materials referred to,” wherein language is also considered a sculptural, i.e. 3-dimensional material. Well- known for his text pieces and wall installations, his work spans a broad range of forms, including drawings, books, films, videos, music, posters, editions, and public projects. Weiner has often defined art as “the relationship of human beings to objects and objects to objects in relation to human beings.” His employment of language is purposely open-ended to allow for translation, transference, and transformation by the receiver; each time the work is made,
it is made anew. Not fixed in time and place, every manifestation and point of reception of the work is different; each person will use the work differently and find a different relationship to its content.
The Stedelijk Museum and Amsterdam are privileged to have a long history with the artist and his work. Since 1970, Weiner has lived and maintained a studio both in New York and Amsterdam and his work is prominently featured in the Stedelijk’s collection and in numerous exhibitions over the years, starting with the 1969 exhibition Op Losse Schroeven.
In 1988 the Stedelijk organized the retrospective survey exhibition Lawrence Weiner – Works from the Beginning of the Sixties Towards the End of the Eighties, curated by former Stedelijk Curator Marja Bloem.
WRITTEN ON THE WIND. Lawrence Weiner Drawings is curated by MACBA Director Bartomeu Marí and Curator Soledad Gutiérrez. The presentation at the Stedelijk Museum is organized by Stedelijk Director Ann Goldstein and Curator Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen.
WRITTEN ON THE WIND is accompanied by the first comprehensive monograph devoted to Weiner’s drawings, published by Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona MACBA and Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König (184 pages, € 38). The book is created by the artist in cooperation with the designer Filiep Tacq. The texts by Gregor Stemmrich and Kathryn Chiong and the epilogue by Bartomeu Marí and Soledad Gutiérrez are devoted to analysing different aspects of Weiner’s drawings.