He was one of the pioneers of 20th century contemporary American art. She was the Anne Mattiere artist who brought her paintings of the Australian desert to the world stage.
Sol LeWitt and Emily Kame Kngwarreye never met, but one greatly influenced the work of the other, leading to one of the largest utopian art collections outside Australia. LeWitt became a big fan of her Kngwarreye, a distinctive style produced by an Indigenous Australian artist working in the Northern Territory Utopia, a region that includes the countries of Alhalpere, Rreltye, Thelye, Atarrkete and Ingutanka. became a big fan of
The conduit between the two artists was John Calder, a prominent Australian art collector and philanthropist. He knew LeWitt personally for his 50 years. In 2008, Kaldor donated 260 of his works to his NSW art gallery. Among them were dozens of paintings and drawings by LeWitt, who was conceptually known as the father of his art until his death in 2007.
On Saturday, AGNSW, in partnership with Kaldor Public Art Projects, will open the exhibition Sol LeWitt: Affinities and Resonances. This is a project in which Wall drawing #955: loopy doopy (red and purple), a large-scale work by an American artist, is displayed. In the gallery’s impressive Central Court. On the other side is a work by her two women, Kngwarreye and her fellow utopian her artist, Gloria Tamerre Petyarre, who had a great influence on him.
Biography of Sol LeWitt
In a 1967 essay, Sol LeWitt wrote:
It was a succinct definition of what came to be known as the conceptual art movement.
LeWitt began hiring artists, usually younger ones, who could reproduce his work. For him, permanence was not in the physical repetition of ideas, but in the ideas themselves. He realized that the only way for much of his work to survive into his 21st century was through a craftsman who could continue to paint his work for him.
Gabriel Hurier and Andrew Colbert are among the second generation of these artists and were personally trained in his method by LeWitt. In early July, the duo arrived in Australia to begin work on his AGNSW exhibition, following strict written instructions left by LeWitt to recreate Loopy his doopy.
“The colors are very specific, and also vary how many coats you need to apply, how many primers you need to prep the wall before you start, and how many times you need to render the wall to be perfectly smooth. Nicholas Chambers, curator of modern and international art at AGNSW, said: “We have very strict instructions to stick to the original work.”
Kaldor met LeWitt in 1968 when he saw the artist’s first mural at a gallery in New York. LeWitt, who was around 40 at the time, had his first impression of him as lonely and a bit depressed. That state seems to be reflected in his style of strictly geometric art. However, after he married and had a child with his vivacious second wife, the artist Carol He Androssio, in 1982, LeWitt’s personality and work became more extroverted. made it spontaneous and fun.
Kaldor recalls meeting him again in 1998 during a visit to Australia. “He was a different person. Completely changed his style. It was Carol who changed him.”
“I feel very close to Kngwarrey.”
LeWitt first encountered Kungwaree’s work at the Venice Biennale in 1997, a year after she died at the age of 86. Museum of Contemporary Art.
“He was surprised [Kngwarreye’s paintings] And immediately asked where I could buy it,” says Kaldor. LeWitt was a prolific collector of other people’s art throughout his life, often trading his own work as a way of supporting promising but obscure young artists.
“He was one of the most generous artists I’ve met,” says Kaldor.
Born in Utopia in 1910, Kngwarreye did not start painting until later in life. Despite this, she was prolific. It is estimated that in her eight-year career she made over 3,000 paintings, and she averaged one painting a day.
Kaldor replaced LeWitt in the late 1990s and began collecting works by Kungware and other Central Desert artists. The art was sent to LeWitt’s studio in Hartford, Connecticut, and the artist sent back new works of his own in return, which lasted for about 15 years until his death in 2007. Most of the works he sent in exchange for his Utopia art became part of his Kaldor collection at AGNSW.
In a fax message sent to Kaldor, Lewitt described the inspiration he found in Kungwaree’s art. “I feel very close to [Kngwarreye’s] I learned a lot from her work,” he wrote.
That “great affinity” was captured in a body of work known as Entangled Band Drawings. “Obviously, LeWitt started thinking very deeply about Kungwaree,” says Chambers. “We are starting to see these very interesting similarities between one of LeWitt’s last body of work and Kungware’s work, where there is a very interesting visual dialogue. I have.”
Sol LeWitt: Affinities and Resonances at AGNSW will run from August 27th to February 12th, 2023.
This article was updated on August 26, 2022 to add the names of five indigenous nations in the Utopia region.