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Bonnefantenmuseum Announces Extended Drawing Exhibition Featuring Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Bruce Nauman, Richard Serra

Bonnefantenmuseum presents Extended Drawing an exhibition featuring Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Bruce Nauman, Richard Serra on view 18 September 2011–15 January 2012.

Extended Drawing focuses on a specific aspect of the work of American artists Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Bruce Nauman and Richard Serra. The exhibition shows works in which line and drawing are taken beyond their original boundaries.

The exhibition will occupy the whole of the 2nd floor. This will give plenty of space to each artist and enable forty large works to be shown, bringing out an aspect of their work that has never before been addressed in such depth. Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Bruce Nauman and Richard Serra are very important to the Bonnefantenmuseum’s collection, in which each artist has been represented by several works since 1987.

Sol LeWitt’s first wall drawing dates from 1968 and was created in the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York. Creating a wall drawing was a sudden, radical, but for LeWitt logical switch from three-dimensional to two-dimensional. He had suddenly found a method whereby he could escape the limitations of paper and canvas, but even more importantly he could work directly on the wall (or floor) without the intervention of a support (canvas or paper). In his own work, he thus changed the role of drawing as a modest medium into drawing on a large scale in architectural spaces.

In his work, Mangold has always adhered to the same strict formula of striving for a balance between surface, colour, line and form. Mangold starts each of his works by drawing quick sketches. The best ideas are developed on a larger scale, in graphite and pastel on paper, after which several versions are created on canvas. In pencil on the shaped canvas, he creates a grid structure, which he uses to draw the thicker lines: ovals, waves, scrolls and circles. The element of line—linear configurations drawn in pencil—is as important in his work as colour. To emphasize this, Mangold opts for the visible pencil line rather than the line drawn in the paint layer, in which the line is part of the paint and not an autonomous form.

For his neons, Bruce Nauman made sketches in pencil, charcoal and watercolour. For the figures, he used the outlines of the bodies of himself and his wife. The double outlines in different colours indicate where neon is to be used, and the layered figures indicate how they will appear when the neon flashes on and off. The primary colours red, yellow and blue are used for the male figures, while the female figures are represented in softer shades like pink, green and orange. The timing of the sequences is very important and is fixed and repeated in a continual loop, each figure having its own individual programme.

Serra’s drawings are not sketches for his sculptures, but autonomous works of art. Although he has been drawing since 1972, his first solo exhibition only came in 1974, at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York. Originally, he worked in charcoal, but switched to paintstick (a mix of oil pastel, tar, beeswax and resin) from 1973, which enabled him to work large surface areas with a single movement. It is a heavy, physical, repetitive way of working, in which the linen or paper is covered with the paintstick. Besides physical strength, it also demands great concentration. The layers are applied from the centre; first horizontally and then vertically, crosswise, until the black has enough absorption and the structure of the linen becomes visible. This material quality allows people to experience his drawings as an object rather than as a flat surface, which is what they actually are.

Film Showing
An exclusive ‘work in progress’ of the documentary Sol LeWitt by Chris Teerink (premiere fall 2011) on the artist’s work and ideas will be shown during the opening of Extended Drawing on Sunday 18 September at 2 pm.

Extended Drawing is accompanied by a publication (375 x 265 mm, edition of 1500, 76 pages, 45 color illustrations) Available from the Museum Shop.

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