‘The idea becomes a machine that makes the art’ (S. LeWitt, ‘Paragraphs on Conceptual Art’ 1967).
With its sleek, free-standing aluminium frame articulating a gaping cubic void, the present work stems from Sol LeWitt’s celebrated series of Incomplete Open Cubes. Created in 1974, and exhibited together at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2000, these sculptures are among the most important statements of LeWitt’s Minimalist aesthetic: non-illusionistic, self-evident in form and driven by a rigorous grammatic logic, they epitomise his fascination with systemic rationality. For this series, LeWitt identified 122 unique variations on the theme of the open cube, creating structures composed of three to eleven conjoined sides. Missing six of its twelve edges – four at the top, one at the bottom and one at the side – the present work deconstructs the volumetric form of the cube, creating a sinuous dialogue between its elegant linear framework and the negative space that flows between it. In doing so, LeWitt fully relinquished the flat plane of his two-dimensional wall drawings, transferring their spatial investigations into three-dimensions.
Standing as the culmination of LeWitt’s obsession with measurements and mathematics, the Incomplete Open Cubes embody the core principle of his aesthetic: namely, that ‘when an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes the machine that makes the art’ (S. Lewitt, ‘Paragraphs on Conceptual Art’ 1967). However, despite claiming to be disinterested by the appearance of his objects, LeWitt’s Incomplete Open Cubes are nonetheless imbued with a compelling lyrical beauty: in the purity and restraint of their sequential progression, they stand before the viewer as poetic meditations on the nature of form.