10,000 black straight lines and 10,000 black not straight lines within a four-meter circle.
Installed in April 2015 by Nicolai Angelov.
“Arcs and Lines”, the 51 drawings by Sol LeWitt presented in the correct arrangement and sequence, required all the available wall space in the small gallery on Mühlegasse 27. The opening of the exhibition on October 16, 1975, was a major and important event for us and the history of the gallery. In light of the enduring partnership with Sol LeWitt who came to our opening and remained a close collaborator over a period of decades, this estimation was true and accurate in all respects.
On October 18, 1975, two further openings in Basel gained the attention of art connoisseurs who were able to recognize the potential and innovative power of Sol LeWitt’s work. Rolf Preisig showed three wall drawings in his gallery on Rheinfelderstrasse and the Kunsthalle presented the artist’s graphic oeuvre and the “Incomplete Open Cubes”.
On this occasion, we joined with Rolf Preisig and Marilena Bonomo to publish the artist book “Lines & Color”, which was printed in Zurich. This references another concern of LeWitt’s, one that preoccupied him throughout his life: the artist book, as he understood it, is a piece of art in the form of book or booklet, simply produced and affordably priced.
A skeptical review in the Zurich press stands out in memory. Sol LeWitt’s showing at the Kunsthalle in Basel was critically assessed, but the exhibitions of the two galleries only received peripheral mention. The manner with which American artists, in particular, had been conceiving of a renewal of art over the preceding years was not met with much understanding. Only a limited number of enthusiasts saw these works and ideas as representing a new and valid conception. The involvement of two young galleries was regarded as a concerted effort to locally establish an artist’s career.
Sol LeWitt liked it when a multiplicity of participants validated his work in different roles, when they profited from it in their respectively entitled ways. Time and again, we were able to count on his loyalty, support and even his benevolence, freely given as a matter of course. His whole life long, he managed to elude the art world’s pretensions to power and the schematic tendencies of art criticism.
The point of departure and focus of the Sol LeWitt ‘system’ was always Sol LeWitt. The studio was the site of intensive and concentrated activity. It took almost daily manual work to trigger the changes that preserved the tension and vitality for the intended dissemination of the work and allowed the family of concepts and inventions to take shape and develop.