On September 14, 2013 Sonnabend Gallery will open an exhibition of “Early Installations” by Barry Le Va.
Since the 1960s, Le Va has been one of the leading practitioners of Post-Minimalism and Process Art. His works often make use of the floor as a field of activity on which materials such as glass, felt, chalk dust and ball bearings are scattered in “distributions” that function as evidence of a rigorously organized yet mysterious plan. The three installations on view in this exhibition are from the late 1960s and are being shown for the first time in New York.
“Disentangle” (1967) consists of black felt strips and debris.
“Four sets, dropped and placed” (1968) is an arrangement of black felt, aluminum and glass.
“2 doors” (1968) is an installation of chalk dust in which the placement is based upon the gallery’s architectural elements: doors, walls and floor boundaries.
Le Va has said of his work:
“I create a visual language composed of elements and symbols from many sources – there is a dialogue between them. The sources are not important, the dialogue is.”
“In 1968, I started reading Sherlock Holmes…. I became intrigued by the idea of visual clues, the way Sherlock Holmes managed to reconstruct a plot from obscure visual evidence. What I’m trying to do now is set up situations in which audiences have to use their minds to piece elements back together.”
and Ingrid Schaffner writes:
“you are the witness that has been fingered as an accomplice. So, you must figure out what happened here, for something did occur. The clues are everywhere… You can see that each of the so-called sculptures is only a temporary arrangement. No sooner does this occur to you than you find yourself sweeping up the scattered materials and dismantling the component elements in your mind – trying to reconstruct how and why they landed as they did.”