Hauser & Wirth in Monaco openedLarry Bell’s exhibition

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Larry Bell’s artworks in Monaco

Larry Bell, born in Chicago, emerged from the Los Angeles art scene of the 1960s, alongside contemporaries Ed Ruscha and Robert Irwin, and had garnered international repute by the age of 30. Known foremost for his refined surface treatment of glass and explorations of light, reflection and shadow through the material, Bell’s oeuvre extends from painting and works on paper to glass sculptures and furniture design.

In the late 1960s, the artist abandoned the use of metal frames in his sculptures, towards free-standing glass panels joined with silicone, allowing him to work on a much grander scale, determined by the body. This, in turn, helped him move away from the pure form of the cube, towards an exploration of architectural and mural geometries, corners and zig-zags.

The exhibition in Monaco opened on 4 June 2024 and consists of 4 large-scale glass sculptures from the early 1970s, along with ‘Moving Ways,’ a monumental late 1970s wall work. These works highlight Bell’s contribution to a severely pared-down aesthetic and how his work at this stage addresses not just the viewer’s gaze but the perceiving body – Bell’s recourse to corporeal phenomenology – both characteristics that can relate to minimalism.
‘Although we tend to think of glass as a window, it is a solid liquid that has at once three distinctive qualities: it reflects light, it absorbs light, and it transmits light all at the same time,’ – Larry Bell.

Known foremost for his refined surface treatment of glass and explorations of light, reflection and shadow through the material, Bell’s understanding of the potential of glass and light allows him to expand visual and physical fields of perception, and his sculptures to go beyond traditional bounds of the medium.
Since 1969, Larry Bell has used his own high-vacuum coating system that allows him to deposit thin metal films onto his glass surfaces, harnessing a little-known technique developed for aeronautics to create an original body of work.

The sculpture plays with the perception of the viewer, as one can see himself reflected from one angle and have no reflection from another: when you find yourself in the centre of the exposition, you have nowhere to hide from multiple reflections of yourself; when you approach single sculpture, you have no reflection.
To make his “vapour drawings” on paper Bell began experimenting with a modified version of the vacuum coating process. The large-scale wall work ‘Moving Ways’ (1978), made from applying aluminium on black paper, comprises five individual drawings hung together to make up a multi-panelled composition.
In the “vapour drawings,” he controls the density of the metallic coating, much like his glass works, to varying degrees of transparency and opacity across their surface. Thus, the drawings emulate and complement the elusive, reflective and spatial qualities same as in his sculptural works.
The exhibition will run until 31 August 2024Hauser & Wirth1 Pl. du Casino, 98000 Monaco