Skeletal geometries

LeWitt Five Open Geometric Structures 1979

Sol LeWitt, Five Open Geometric Structures, 1979

Thinking about the blurring of the boundary between sculpture and drawing brings Sol LeWitt to mind; add a fascination with geometry into the mix and I find myself looking afresh at LeWitt’s Open Geometric Structures in particular. There’s a beautiful simplicity to the structures – a term LeWitt favoured over sculptures – with the openness lending them a feeling of being drawings in space rather than, or as well as, being objects.

LeWitt Geometric Structures 1979

Geometric Structures, 1979

The combination of repetition and variation on a theme also appeals. I find myself looking for duplicates and trying to figure out the different permutations.


Incomplete Open Cube No. 5-6, 1974

With the Open Cubes there are gaps to be filled in; the structures hint at the whole but don’t fully draw out its edges. The resulting partial forms feel like some sort of test of spatial awareness so that I want to work out where the matches are and whether structures can be combined to make a whole.

LeWitt Incomplete Open Cube No.5-6 1974

Incomplete Open Cube No. 5-6, 1974

The precision of the structures is important. These are manufactured rather objects rather than carefully crafted sculptural forms. Here, as in most of his practice, LeWitt’s hand is deliberately absent from the work. The artist concerned himself with the idea, providing instructions for fabricators to make the physical work. This is, of course, an approach shared with others but LeWitt was certainly one of the first artists to use it in such a deliberate way developing the idea of instruction-based art, a key strategy of conceptual art. In the case of the Open Structures one imagines the instructions were probably fairly easy to follow; in the case of some of LeWitt’s wall drawings – about which, more later I suspect – there is sometimes more scope for both interpretation and error.


Open Geometric Structure 3, 1990

1 thought on “Skeletal geometries

  1. Pingback: A week with some decisions | hedgehogsite

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