Geometric patterns, anthropomorphic characters, architectural spatial environments, and relics of the ancient world appear throughout Jess Johnson's artworks.Johnson's solo art-ventures began in drawing, but her long-term collaborative relationship with animator Simon Ward brings her drawings to life in videos and virtual reality. The animator has...
In 2012, Melati Suryodarmo opened Studio Plesungan in her native Surakarta, also known as Solo, the historic royal capital of the Mataram Empire of Java in Indonesia. Suryodarmo had returned to Indonesia from Germany, where she studied Butoh and choreography with Butoh dancer and choreographer Anzu Furukawa, time-based media with avantgarde...
Under the direction of Folakunle Oshun, the second edition of the Lagos Biennial (26 October–23 November 2019) includes works by over 40 Lagos-based and international artists, architects, and collectives. Curated by architect Tosin Oshinowo, curator and producer Oyindamola Fakeye, and assistant curator of photography at the Art Institute of...
Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...
'If the Large Earth Sculpture is an expression of myself only... then it is a failure. It must express the feelings of most of the people, not only in Germany, but in the world. It must have universal interest and meaning.'
—Walter De Maria, on the Olympic Mountain Project (1971)
Gagosian is pleased to present Idea to Action to Object, an exhibition of over forty works on paper and several related sculptures by the late Walter De Maria. The drawings, sourced from the Estate of Walter De Maria, are on view for the first time, revealing various unrealised projects and philosophical explorations, and suggesting a tender humanity behind De Maria’s geometric precision.
In De Maria’s wide-ranging oeuvre, objects emerge from a transitional zone between idea and action. Like sounds coming from an instrument, shapes appear, overlap, and repeat in infinite permutations—drawing attention to the limits of gallery spaces, prioritising bodily awareness, and examining the relationship between the relative and the absolute.
The title of this exhibition comes from a sketchbook page, Abstract Concept (c. 1960–61), in which De Maria mapped out a cyclical relationship between a work’s conception, actualisation, and perceived meaning—a cycle that he believed to be rooted in the real (as opposed to illusory) world. Themes of causality and performance run throughout the drawings, providing more intimate backstories for his minimalist sculptures and installations. The early editioned sculpture Ball Drop (1961–64) comprises a tall plywood box with two square holes cut into its face. A wooden sphere sits in a compartment framed by the lower hole. When it was originally shown at the 9 Great Jones Street gallery in 1965, the viewer was invited to take the ball and drop it through the top hole, causing a sharp bang. Here, however, the ball remains static, charged with potential energy, like the solid stainless-steel ball in 14-Sided Open Polygon (1984).
In De Maria’s later works, it could be argued that the ball is replaced by the viewer, who must consider herself in relation to both abstract ideas and physical space. This is powerfully illustrated in the preparatory drawings for his unrealised Olympic Mountain Project (1970–71). For the 1972 Olympic games in Munich, De Maria proposed to drill a 400-foot shaft through a mountain of rubble from World War II, covering the top of the hole with a bronze disk. To think about the dark void beneath the metal disk imbues his other disk-shaped sculptures with a sense of precariousness. Standing over The Equal Area Series: Pair Number 24 (1990)—steel outlines of a square and a circle occupying the same surface area of the gallery floor—the viewer may imagine falling through the square hole in Ball Drop or through the circular one in the Olympic Mountain Project.
Some drawings attest to De Maria’s lighthearted, improvisational spirit. In Stand Up Commedian (circa 1961–63), a bowling pin–like man occupies the centre of the page with 'talks for two hours about cigaretts [sic] and smokes' written above his head and 'diskothek' appearing beneath him; and in the Flying Saucer (1974) drawings, loosely rendered ellipses float across the page. This suggests that De Maria’s geometries are not entirely unfanciful, but rather combine the serialisation of Minimalism with the sublime scale of land and sky, and the electrifying tremors of the unknown.
De Maria’s Truck Trilogy is on view at Dia:Beacon, NY, through summer 2019.
We have sent you an email containing a link to reset your password. Simply click the link and enter your new password to complete this process.
Scan the QR Code via WeChat to follow Ocula's official account.