Lawrence Weiner — WHERE THE WORDS START
Recontemporary / Salotto
3 November — 3 February 2024
Opening 3 November, 6:00 pm
3 November, 6 – 9 pm
Recontemporary / Via G. Ferrari 12b
from Wed to Sat, 3.30 – 7.30 pm
Special hours: Sat 4 e Sun 5, 10 am – 8 pm
exhibition curated by Recontemporary
in collaboration with Galleria Giorgio Persano
photo credits: Nicola Morittu
Recontemporary, on the occasion of its fifth year, presents the exhibition WHERE THE WORDS START by Lawrence Weiner in collaboration with Galleria Giorgio Persano.
The conceptual inquiry has revolutionized the art world, ushering in a radical shift that introduced the idea of art without dimensions, without time, without physicality, and without limits for the first time. The concept became the driving force behind which everything was permissible, allowing for the experimentation of new artistic forms such as performance, installations, and video art.
With the Where the Words Start exhibition, Recontemporary aims to draw attention to Lawrence Weiner’s video work, which, as the title suggests, starts with a reflection on language. The artist, particularly known for his text-based works as the primary and fundamental means of communication with others, has expanded his conceptual research through video and imagery.
Weiner’s videos are not traditional cinematic or narrative works but rather extensions of his conceptual investigation. They capture everyday actions or mundane objects and emphasize their meaning through unconventional editing and visual presentation. A sequence of images, words, impressions, texts, and graphics that prompt the audience to ponder the essence of language beyond its visual appearance.
This is how Weiner has produced a body of video works that extend the concepts explored in conceptual art, highlighting how even within a communicative code, complex communication and meanings are concealed, designed to shift the focus onto the idea and concept rather than traditional visual aesthetics. Through his texts, images, and videos, Lawrence Weiner has left a lasting impact on contemporary art, encouraging a broader and more conceptual view of art itself.
The exhibition’s layout will be custom-designed for Recontemporary’s spaces through an Exhibit Design workshop, also hosted by Rec, led by Andrea Isola from October 5th to 8th, 2023. The exhibition’s reach is amplified through collaboration with the Fondazione Contrada, as part of the Spazio Portici project from October to December 2023. During this period, some of Lawrence Weiner’s video works will be featured in a collective exhibition titled WHERE THE WORDS END, set up in the arcades of Via Nizza, through an avant-garde installation accessible to the entire community.
Drawing inspiration from Lawrence Weiner’s works, a second educational project in the form of a workshop has been devised, dedicated to Graphic Design and Motion Design. The workshop will be conducted by the Turin-based communication and graphic agency Illo Tv and will take place at the association’s premises on November 11, 2023. Participants will have the opportunity to establish a dialogue between the artist’s works and the digital world of animation, learning the various stages of using specific software and creating a personalized project with high creative value. To highlight the significant editorial history associated with the artist, a presentation of some Lawrence Weiner catalogs will be organized in collaboration with the independent bookstore Paint it Black on December 13, 2023. Through the selection of some of the most important catalogs and publications related to the artist, an open conversation will be held between Iole Pellion of Persano, founder of Recontemporary, and Margherita Rossi, coordinator of Paint it Black.
Galleria Giorgio Persano
Giorgio Persano opened the gallery in Turin in 1970 under the name “Multipli.” He showcased works of American Pop art and simultaneously curated the production of limited edition works with Arte Povera artists.
Starting in 1975, he began an ongoing activity under his own name, involving the design, production of artworks, and exhibitions with artists such as Michelangelo Pistoletto, Mario Merz, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Gilberto Zorio, Mimmo Paladino, Sol Lewitt, Joseph Kosuth, Gerhard Merz, Julião Sarmento, and younger artists like Per Barclay, Susy Gòmez, Costas Varotsos, Maria Serebriakova, Rob Birza, Alfredo Romano, Paolo Grassino, and Luisa Rabbia.
In 2005, he opened a new large space on Via Principessa Clotilde, which became the gallery’s sole location from 2010 onwards. This space offered artists the opportunity to “experiment” with large-scale works, including artists such as Lawrence Weiner, Nunzio, Pedro Cabrita Reis, Eliseo Mattiacci, Marco Gastini, Lida Abdul, Antoni Abad, Jan Dibbets, and Susan Norrie.
He was born in New York City in 1942 and passed away in 2021. A central and pioneering figure in conceptual art, in the late 1960s Lawrence Weiner devoted his efforts to breaking away from traditional ways and means of what constituted an artwork. Developing a true aesthetic of language in which his work took on a three-dimensional sculptural value, Weiner defined his medium as “language + the materials referred to,” in the sense that language was his material for constructing his work.
In his “Statement of Intent” from 1968, the artist outlined the principles on which his work exists:
1. The artist may construct the work.
2. The work may be fabricated.
3. The work need not be built.
Since each is equal and consistent with the artist’s intent, the decision regarding the condition rests with the receiver upon the occasion of reception.
The physical production of his work is not necessarily carried out directly by the artist. Weiner’s works can be manifested in many ways, depending on the parameters of the work itself and the circumstances of the gallery, museum, institution, or collector, often referred to by Weiner as the “receiver of the works.” His works may be accompanied by mathematical signage, grammatical symbols, and graphic gestures.
Weiner’s works signify process, material, and structure, with their interpretation left to the viewer, altering the traditional relationship between artist and viewer. For Weiner, language is his tool for his open representation of the world, free from subjective references and metaphor. Weiner’s work takes shape and meaning through the perception and interpretation of the viewer. Weiner’s statements are often translated into multiple languages, making his art accessible to all.