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Art Review: Lawrence Weiner at Regen Projects II

August 7, 2009 | 11:00 am

LW 272 install jwjpg For his first L.A. gallery exhibition since his retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art last year, Lawrence Weiner is showing five word-murals and four drawings at Regen Projects II. None breaks new ground, but all continue the high level of conceptual engagement we’ve come to expect from the New York artist.

The drawings employ mostly red-yellow-blue text against white space in a manner reminiscent of Russian Suprematist and Constructivist artist El Lissitzky’s architectonic designs from the 1920s. One reads, in part, “Sailing along toward heresy as a port of call,” asserting the poetic necessity of staying in the present moment, open to constant flux.

That words form Weiner’s building material demonstrates his long-standing commitment to language as a structural device. They locate you in space and time, lyrically if not physically.

For instance, given a few graphic twists on the wall, the words “placed/just below/above the horizon” asks where the horizon actually is. In nature, “out there”? Or, in the threshhold of perception, “in here”?
And where, exactly, is “just below above”?

Given that a horizon divides heaven and Earth, Weiner’s inquiry assumes dimensions larger than the wall on which the words are inscribed. And that’s an investigation that has productively engaged artists for centuries.

Regen Projects II, 9016 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 276-5424, through Aug. 15. Closed Sunday and Monday. 

--Christopher Knight

 Above: PLACED JUST BELOW ABOVE THE HORIZON.  Photo credit: Regen Projects, Los Angeles © Lawrence Weiner.