Monday, January 21, 2008

Lawrence Weiner

Essay by Lynne Cooke

Since 1967 Lawrence Weiner's work has been formulated by recourse to language rather than the more conventional idioms of painting or sculpture. In language, Weiner found a medium and tool for representing material relationships in the external world in as objective a manner as possible, one that could eliminate all references to authorial subjectivity—all traces of the artist's hand, his skill, or his taste. "ART IS NOT A METAPHOR UPON THE RELATIONSHIP OF HUMAN BEINGS TO OBJECTS & OBJECTS TO OBJECTS IN RELATION TO HUMAN BEINGS BUT A REPRESENTATION OF AN EMPIRICAL EXISTING FACT," he argues. "IT DOES NOT TELL THE POTENTIAL & CAPABILITIES OF AN OBJECT (MATERIAL) BUT PRESENTS A REALITY CONCERNING THAT RELATIONSHIP."1 This often-quoted contention is spelled out in characteristically succinct spare terms: it posits the allusive and hypothetical as the negative of that which is, an objectively observable or verifiable concrete reality.