In the late 1960s, Sol LeWitt established a set of aesthetic principles through two key texts that would form the basis of his practice: “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art” (1967) and “Sentences on Conceptual Art” (1969). For LeWitt, “the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work.” He began to use these ideas as guidelines for two-dimensional works drawn directly on the wall. LeWitt’s outlook and practice inaugurated a new genre that he would explore for the remainder of his career.
The wall drawings are the result of a set of instructions that are normally brief and relatively direct; consequently, their results vary in complexity and scale. “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art” emphasized this level of preparedness. LeWitt asserted that “all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair.” Although the earliest of these works were drawn by LeWitt, the series quickly grew into a form of visual score that could be better interpreted by a qualified assistant or group of assistants in a specific location.
Wall Drawing #1085: Drawing Series—Composite, Part I–IV, #1–24, A + B and Wall Drawing #1211: Drawing Series—Composite, Part I–IV, #1–24, A + B, installed in symmetrical galleries, are twin works conceived in 1968, but only materialized thirty-five years later at Dia:Beacon. In 2006 Dia invited LeWitt to select works for the adjacent galleries from among the numerous drawings that he conceived in the early 1970s. Despite LeWitt’s firm belief that planning and decisions should be done beforehand, he often capitalized on circumstance. The role of the assisting drafters could be as influential to the piece’s completion as the space itself. Sometimes the physical nature of the drafters, such as their height or arm length, are inevitably incorporated into the work, determining its appearance. Thus, these drawings are always unique, and a single generative principle opens the work to infinite variations.
Sol LeWitt was born in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1928. He died in New York City in 2007.