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Walter De Maria

The 5-7-9 Series

March 22–May 29, 2012
Rome

Installation view, photo by Matteo Piazza

Installation view, photo by Matteo Piazza

Installation view, photo by Matteo Piazza

Installation view, photo by Matteo Piazza

Installation view, photo by Matteo Piazza

Installation view, photo by Matteo Piazza

Works Exhibited

Walter De Maria, 13 Sided Open Polygon, 1984 Solid stainless steel, 4 × 83 × 83 inches; ball: 3 ¾ inches diameter (10.2 × 210.8 × 210.8 cm; 9.5 cm diameter)Photo by Matteo Piazza

Walter De Maria, 13 Sided Open Polygon, 1984

Solid stainless steel, 4 × 83 × 83 inches; ball: 3 ¾ inches diameter (10.2 × 210.8 × 210.8 cm; 9.5 cm diameter)
Photo by Matteo Piazza

Walter De Maria, 13 Sided Open Polygon, 1984 (detail) Solid stainless steel, 4 × 83 × 83 inches; ball: 3 ¾ inches diameter (10.2 × 210.8 × 210.8 cm; 9.5 cm diameter)Photo by Matteo Piazza

Walter De Maria, 13 Sided Open Polygon, 1984 (detail)

Solid stainless steel, 4 × 83 × 83 inches; ball: 3 ¾ inches diameter (10.2 × 210.8 × 210.8 cm; 9.5 cm diameter)
Photo by Matteo Piazza

Walter De Maria, 5-7-9 SERIES: Variation 5-5-7, 1992/96 Solid stainless steel on granite, 21 ⅝ × 12 × 26 ¾ inches (55 × 30.5 × 68 cm)Photo by Matteo Piazza

Walter De Maria, 5-7-9 SERIES: Variation 5-5-7, 1992/96

Solid stainless steel on granite, 21 ⅝ × 12 × 26 ¾ inches (55 × 30.5 × 68 cm)
Photo by Matteo Piazza

Walter De Maria, Large Rod Series: Circle/Rectangle 11, 1986 (view 1) Stainless steel, Eleven 11 sided rods; each rod: 5 1/16 × 52 × 5 1/16 inches (12.9 × 132.1 × 12.9 cm)Photo by Matteo Piazza

Walter De Maria, Large Rod Series: Circle/Rectangle 11, 1986 (view 1)

Stainless steel, Eleven 11 sided rods; each rod: 5 1/16 × 52 × 5 1/16 inches (12.9 × 132.1 × 12.9 cm)
Photo by Matteo Piazza

About

Gagosian is pleased to present an exhibition of important sculpture by Walter De Maria. Each of the three works on view, The 5-7-9 Series (1992/1996), the Large Rod Series: Circle/Rectangle 11 (1986), and The 13-Sided Open Polygon (1984), represents a major series for De Maria during the last fifty years. Although the works engage geometric and numerical progression, they balance stark mathematical fact with the more intangible qualities of the sublime.

The 5-7-9 Series is the second of three related, large-scale 27-part installation sculptures. The Rome presentation is edition 2/2; the first edition is on permanent view at the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin. The work is preceded by The 4-6-8 Series (1966) and followed by Time/Timeless/No Time (2004, from the 3-4-5 Series), on permanent view at the Chichu Art Museum, Naoshima Island, Japan. All works in each series consist of 27 unique sculptural variations, each made of three vertical rods affixed to a horizontal base.

Each of the shaped solid stainless-steel rods in The 5-7-9 Series has five, seven, or nine sides, and the order of these three rods is presented in 27 unique presentations. Every possible combination of vertical elements is realized. The installation of the sculptures is then determined by the given site, as they are often arranged in single or triple rows, and they may be ordered in a nearly infinite number of ways. In Rome, their arrangement will complement the oval shape of the main gallery, with a display of three rows of nine works. The vertical rod is an element that has recurred throughout De Maria’s oeuvre, with one of the earliest examples being Bed of Spikes (1968–69). This was followed by the outdoor installation, The Lightning Field (1977), in New Mexico. A large-scale photograph opens the exhibition, depicting this icon of land art against the panorama of the Western American landscape.

In counterpoint to the vertical structure of The 5-7-9 Series are two stainless-steel floor sculptures: Large Rod Series: Circle/Rectangle 11 and 13-Sided Open Polygon. Both are displayed in their own gallery spaces. Circle/Rectangle 11 consists of eleven eleven-sided rods. In Rome the work is displayed in a rectangular configuration, although displaying the eleven rods in a circular pattern is also an option. The eleven large rods share an affinity to the rows that form the 500-part Broken Kilometer (1979). The 13-Sided Open Polygon comes from a series of polygonal floor sculptures, created by the artist between 1973 and 1984, whose forms range from five to seventeen sides. Within the stainless-steel circumference of each polygon sits a solid stainless-steel ball whose many movements are confined by the limits of the interior track, emphasizing the artful combination of order and randomness that pervades De Maria’s work.

On the occasion of this exhibition, the original exhibition catalogue for The 5-7-9 Series published by Gagosian in 1992 will be reprinted and expanded, including a text by Lars Nittve.

Gagosian è lieta di annunciare una mostra di sculture di Walter De Maria. Le tre opere esposte, The 5-7-9 Series (1992/1996), Large Rod Series: Circle/Rectangle 11 (1986), The 13-Sided Open Polygon (1984), rappresentano ognuna una importante serie nell’opera di De Maria degli ultimi cinquanta anni. Pur presentando progressioni geometriche e numeriche, tali lavori combinano austere progressioni matematiche alle più intangibili qualità del sublime.

The 5-7-9 Series, esposta a Roma, fa parte di una serie di tre imponenti installazioni composte da 27 elementi. Come The 4-6-8 Series (1966) e Time/Timeless/No Time (2004, facente parte della 3-4-5 Series ed in esposizione permanente presso Chichu Art Museum di Naoshima Island in Giappone), questa presenta 27 variazioni di sculture uniche, ognuna composta da tre barre verticali inserite su una base orizzontale. L’altra edizione di The 5-7-9 Series è in esposizione permanente presso la Gemäldegalerie di Berlino.

Ognuna delle barre di acciaio massiccio che compongono The 5-7-9 Series presenta cinque, sette o nove lati e l’ordine di ciascun gruppo di tre viene ripetuto in 27 modi diversi. Tutte le combinazioni possibili sono così realizzate. L’allestimento delle sculture è determinato dallo spazio che le ospita; possono venir infatti presentate in file singole o triple, con modalità quasi illimitate. A Roma l’installazione dialoga con la sala espositiva ovale presentandosi in tre file di nove elementi. La barra verticale è un motivo ricorrente nell’arte di De Maria, come esemplificato già in una delle prime opere-Bed of Spikes (1968–69) e confermato dalla iconica installazione permanente di Arte Ambientale The Lightning Field (1977) in New Mexico, di cui la mostra romana presenta una riproduzione fotografica di grande formato.

In contrapposizione alla verticalità di The 5-7-9 Series, due sculture in acciaio, Large Rod Series: Circle/Rectangle 11 e 13-Sided Open Polygon, sono allestite in due spazi espositivi separati. Circle/Rectangle 11 è composta da undici barre di undici lati ciascuna. L’opera è esposta con una configurazione rettangolare, sebbene la presentazione degli undici elementi in maniera circolare possa costituire una possibile alternativa. Le undici barre evocano i cinquecento elementi di un’altra installazione permanente: il Broken Kilometer (1979) visibile a New York. The 13-Sided Open Polygon si inserisce invece nella serie di sculture poligonali da terra le cui forme variano da cinque a diciassette lati, realizzate tra il 1973 e il 1984: all’interno della scultura poligonale è posizionata una sfera di acciaio i cui molteplici movimenti sono confinati nei limiti del prestabilito percorso interno, enfatizzando così l’astuta combinazione di ordine e casualità, elementi distintivi dell’opera di De Maria.

La mostra è accompagnata dalla riedizione-con ampliamenti e traduzione in italiano del saggio di Lars Nittve—del catalogo pubblicato da Gagosian nel 1992 in occasione della presentazione al pubblico di The 5-7-9 Series.

Walter De Maria, The Lightning Field, 1977, long-term installation, western New Mexico. Artwork © Estate of Walter De Maria. Photo: John Cliett, courtesy Dia Art Foundation, New York, and © Estate of Walter De Maria

Light and Lightning: Wonder-Reactions at Walter De Maria’s The Lightning Field

In this second installment of a two-part essay, John Elderfield resumes his investigation of Walter De Maria’s The Lightning Field (1977), focusing this time on how the hope to see lightning there has led to the work’s association with the Romantic conception of the sublime.

Walter De Maria, The Lightning Field, 1977. Entire field from northwest exterior looking southeast, summer 1979

A Day in the Life of The Lightning Field

In the first of a two-part feature, John Elderfield recounts his experiences at The Lightning Field (1977), Walter De Maria’s legendary installation in New Mexico. Elderfield considers how this work requires our constantly finding and losing a sense of symmetry and order in shifting perceptions of space, scale, and distance, as the light changes throughout the day.

Gerhard Richter’s Helen (1963) on the cover of Gagosian Quarterly, Spring 2021

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2021

The Spring 2021 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Gerhard Richter’s Helen (1963) on its cover.

Frieze Sculpture New York: An Interview with Brett Littman

Frieze Sculpture New York: An Interview with Brett Littman

The inaugural presentation of Frieze Sculpture New York at Rockefeller Center opened on April 25, 2019. Before the opening, Brett Littman, the director of the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum and the curator of this exhibition, told Wyatt Allgeier about his vision for the project and detailed the artworks included.

Walter De Maria: Truck Trilogy

Spotlight
Walter De Maria: Truck Trilogy

Lars Nittve investigates Truck Trilogy, Walter De Maria’s last work, conceived in 2011 and premiered at Dia:Beacon in 2017.

Walter De Maria: Meaningful Work

Walter De Maria: Meaningful Work

Artist Terry Winters, longtime friend of De Maria and member of the installation crew for The Lightning Field, recounts a trip to New Mexico and the surrounding area and attests to the power—the “rhythm and pulse of ancient mystery”—that continues to imbue De Maria’s artworks into the present day.