Sol LeWitt believed the idea itself could be the work of art, and an artist should be able to conceive of a work and then either delegate its actual production to others or perhaps never make it at all. As the artist famously wrote in 1967, "The idea becomes a machine that makes the art." LeWitt's signature cube is a dynamic unit--a leading character in his diverse scenarios. It takes on many personalities and metamorphoses in size, surface, materials, and complexity.
In the 1960s LeWitt began formulating freestanding modular units, evolving from his early ambition to create, non-illusionistic artworks that were self-evident in form. The present Incomplete Open Cubes are two sleek and refined free-standing three-dimensional configurations from his series completed in 1974. The open cube "structures," the term LeWitt coined for his 3-dimensional works, have been fashioned in painted wood, and in steel and aluminum with a baked-on finish. Always experimenting, LeWitt identified 122 unique variations of open cubes with 3 edges to eleven edges. The structures convey how the artist fully left behind the plane of traditional painting as a support and canvas as a material. He transferred the precise spatial play of his two-dimensional wall drawings into three dimensional forms. Within the strict framework of Minimalism, LeWitt refines sculptural form to its basic component part of line and space.
As a series, Incomplete Open Cube articulate Sol LeWitt's obsession with measurements and mathematics in a streamlined sculptural form. They are exquisite examples of structures previously housed outdoors, juxtaposing LeWitt's aesthetic with both natural and architectural forms. Despite claiming to be uninterested in the beauty of his objects, LeWitt investigated the possibilities of forms in a restrained but elegant language. While the component parts appear arranged in a predetermined mathematical sequence, the rhythmic progression through the forms reveal an innate, artistic gesture.