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Lawrence Weiner

Lawrence Weiner (1942-2021) was born and raised in the Bronx, New York, USA. He lived and worked in New York and Amsterdam. The artist’s first presentation took place in 1960 in Mill Valley, California, where the works consisted of craters created by explosions. Since then, Weiner has participated in and been responsible for a large number of epoch-making exhibitions, and today he is considered to be one of the most important originators of conceptual art.
 
Lawrence Weiner’s work stems from the artistic breakthroughs of the 1960s, when avant-garde movements such as Minimalism, Fluxus and Conceptual Art gave rise to a new understanding of the purpose of visual art. At the time, there was talk of the “dematerialisation” of the artwork. This was to signal that the traditional problems of colour and form in the art object were being subjected to a more comprehensive examination of its conceptual content. In general, a focus emerged on the mechanisms of significance formation, i.e. the link between visual experiences and exchanges of meaning. Weiner was a central figure in this epoch-making reorientation, and has for more than six decades been creating works of continuing relevance on his own terms.
 
Weiner’s versatile practice encompasses performance, painting, film, artist books, sound, posters, sculpture and wall installations. He has been particularly noted for his artistic use of language and typography, which, in a radical and extremely stylish artistic practice, are transformed into statement images and textual fragments – a welcoming gesture which in fundamental ways addresses the rationales we each use to understand objective reality, geography, history, the phenomena of time and space and, not least, the social function of art. There is something existential going on everywhere, which is why the works often deal with our possibilities of finding our way in the world.
 
Weiner views language as a sculptural medium – as object, structure and image-creating material, all in one. In his works, he typically expresses physical conditions, in which an action is described and thereby constituted through the statement itself. For Weiner, it is often a question of highlighting the specific characteristics of an object and how the work of art can potentially be materialised. In other words, these are works in which the expression and content interact in a sophisticated manner, and where the viewer’s personal references and associations become part of the work’s communication and action.
 
Weiner is represented in numerous leading art museums around the world, and in Denmark a number of prominent art institutions also own works by the artist, including the National Gallery of Denmark, ARKEN, Louisiana and Holstebro Kunstmuseum, which has five paper works by Weiner. Weiner held his first exhibition in Denmark in 1974, at Tranegården in Gentofte (now Tranen). In 1983, and again in 1987, he exhibited together with Albert Mertz at Nordjyllands Kunstmuseum (now KUNSTEN - Museum of Modern Art Aalborg). In 1995 he was shown for the first time at Holstebro Kunstmuseum in an exhibition that entered into dialogue with the museum’s African collection (Heart of Darkness). He has exhibited with Per Kirkeby (1938-2018) at Galleri Susanne Ottesen (2016) and again at Holstebro Kunstmuseum in 2021 with the exhibition CLOSE TO A RAINBOW

Permanent public artworks by Lawrence Weiner in Denmark can be found in Ballerup and Holstebro.
Including the work MATTER AS WE KNOW IT (1995), which can be experienced in the museum garden.

Read about the work here

Lawrence Weiner. Photo: Matt Tammaro