Lawrence Weiner was born in the Bronx in 1942, and divided his time between New York and his boat in Amsterdam. After studying philosophy and literature at Hunter College in New York for less then a year, he left to travel extensively around the United States, Mexico and Canada. In 1960, he used dynamite to create sculptures by means of ‘subtraction’ in a national park in California. On his return to New York in 1964, he held an exhibition at Seth Siegelaub gallery, with paintings of television test patterns and works in which visitors decided what parts the artist would cut out. In 1968, at the same gallery, he exhibited a book in which the artworks were only formulated in linguistic terms: they never materialised. This initiated a fertile line of work that has been a fundamental part of the conceptual art of the second half of the twentieth century.

Weiner explored the potential of language as a sculptural material and an art form. In his language sculptures he used typography, symbols and other formal elements combined with statements and epigrams that often refered to the materials and the conditions of work in which each particular project emerged. He had also produced videos, films, audio works, performances, artist’s books and theoretical texts. Weiner won many awards, and his work can be found in the world’s leading contemporary art collections.

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