Lawrence Weiner was born in New York City in 1942. He lives and works in New York City and Amsterdam.
A central and pioneering figure in conceptual art, in the late 1960s Lawrence Weiner focused his efforts on breaking away from the traditional ways and means of what defined a work of art. Developing an actual aesthetic of language in which his work took on a 3-dimensional sculptural quality, Weiner defined his medium as “language + the materials referred to,” in the sense that language is his material for the construction of his work.
In his 1968 “Statement of Intent,” the artist enunciated the principles upon which his work is based:
1. the artist may construct the piece
2. the piece may be fabricated
3. the piece need not be built
Each being equal and consistent with the intent of the artist, the decision as to condition rests with the receiver upon the occasion of receivership.
The actual production of the artist’s work is not contingent on being created directly by him. Weiner’s works can in fact be exhibited in many ways, depending on the parameters of the work itself, and the circumstances of the gallery, museum, institution, or its collector, who is often referred to by Weiner as the “work’s receiver.” The artist’s works can be complemented by mathematical signs and grammatical symbols and graphic gestures.
Weiner’s works denote process, material, and structure, whose free interpretation is left to its viewer, altering the traditional relationship between artist and spectator. Language is for Weiner the tool for his open representation of the world, free of subjective referencing and metaphor. Weiner’s work takes shape and meaning through the viewer’s perception and interpretation, and his statements are often translated into multiple languages, making his art accessible to all.