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Exhibition explores the conceptual affinities between Sol LeWitt, Louise Nevelson, and Adam Pendleton
Installation view.

GENEVA.- Following the recent announcement to open a major gallery in Geneva, Pace is presenting its inaugural exhibition LeWitt, Nevelson, Pendleton at Quai des Bergues 15-17, from 21 March to 4 May 2018. The exhibition explores the conceptual affinities between the multidisciplinary luminaries, working across different decades and media.

LeWitt, Nevelson, Pendleton establishes parallels between intergenerational artists revealing three different artistic approaches that arrive at similar conclusions on colour, shape, materials and meaning. Prompting a trialogue between artists, the presentation explores themes of language, abstraction, geometry and appropriation.

Pendleton’s conceptual practice engages with abstraction and identity through a wide range of media. Often referencing artistic and political movements, including Dada, Minimalism, and Conceptualism, Pendleton appropriates and reconfigures images and texts to critically examine the resonance of ideas from varied perspectives. For System of Display, (2018) a series of silkscreened mirror pieces overlaid with glass facades printed with a word that is typically abbreviated to a single letter on view in the exhibition, Pendleton selects images from a wide range of historical and contemporary books, which he photocopies and then crops to create silkscreens.

Appropriation and physical reconfiguration remain central in Nevelson’s works. Inspired by Cubism, Nevelson took scraps of wood found on the street near her studio and assembled them into sculpture that she would paint a solid colour—most famously, black or white. Nevelson’s sculptures on view range from small assemblages to free-standing columns and monumental wall-based works consisting of multiple assembled elements. Although the physical form of the scraps remains unchanged in her work, Nevelson physically subsumes them in an entire system, creating a unified whole from disparate parts.

Pendleton’s Black Dada Paintings—black-on-black paintings that pair cropped images of LeWitt's Incomplete Open Cube sculptures with letters from the phrase “Black Dada”—test the boundaries between the materiality of sculpture and the abstraction of language. Within this context, the letters begin to function as visual elements removed from language, and the form of the sculpture dissolves. Extending from Amiri Baraka’s 1964 poem “Black Dada Nihilismus”, the work reflects an assimilation of fragments from sources ranging from Hugo Ball’s 1916 Dada manifesto to Ron Sillman’s poetry to Pendleton’s own writing, which also mirrors Nevelson’s assemblages.

The ideas of ‘Conceptual Art’ introduced by Sol LeWitt in the 1960s sought to set art free from the shackles of formalism, and his radical practice had a profound and widespread influence on the artists of his generation and beyond, including Pendleton. Experimenting with the cube as a “grammatical device”, LeWitt’s work is characterised by serialisation, repetition, and progression, exemplified by his iconic open-grid structures that echo Nevelson’s myriad of variations. Studying systems of line and colour, his prolific output solidifies his engagement with two-dimensional practices spanning painting, drawing, photography, and printmaking. For this exhibition, Pace exhibits several cube structures, including a maquette for an outdoor sculpture as well as two works on paper.

LeWitt, Nevelson, Pendleton extends Pace’s ongoing series of group exhibitions that initiate conversations between artists working across time periods, geography, and media, following such significant exhibitions as Blackness in Abstraction (2016), Sol LeWitt and Zhang Xiaogang (2016), Alfred Jensen/Sol LeWitt: Systems and Transformation (2012), Light, Time and Three Dimensions (2007), Dubuffet and Basquiat: Personal Histories (2006); and Grids: Format and Image in 20th-Century Art (1979).

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