Sol LeWitt. American artist, 1928-2007.

Sol LeWitt was a prolific American artist who came to the public's attention in the 1960s for his wall drawings and structural artworks. He is considered a leader of the Minimalist and Conceptual art movements.

LeWitt provided simple and intentionally somewhat vague descriptions of his ideas for apprentices to then take and interpret in the realized art work. In doing so, the instructions themselves become the artwork and challenge the ideas of the role and authority of the artist.

Source Code

The code for this project is written in Processing 3.5.3. It is a fantastic Open Source language aimed at artists who want to quickly prototyping ideas in code. You can learn more about it here: Processing.

The code itself is straightforwards. The logic involves setting some variables to describe the wall dimensions, grid size, colours, line thicknesses etc... There are pre-calculations done for angled lines and arcs. Then, to render the wall, two different lines need to be chosen and some logic included to ensure that a box does not contain two of the same type of lines (or else it just looks like one line). Where it was tricky was in figuring out the math for the curves that connect from the mid-points of the grids.

The program includes a minimal keyboard based UI. "S" saves the screen to an image file. "u" updates the rendering with a new randomized version". "d" toggles the door on and off. And the direction arrows increase or decrease the number of rows and columns.

One bug I decided not to fix is that the current logic allows for two lines, one solid and one dashed, to be draw that overlap one another. As a result it looks like there is just one line drawn. There's an example of this error in the Code Progression gallery below.

There is also a purposeful omission from the program. There are no irregular/random/non-straight lines that are often in other representations of 146A. I excluded these wiggly lines for two reasons. One, the instructions don't explicitly include that type of line, although most of the examples I've seen of 146A include them. And secondly, I didn't trust that I would like the look of those lines on the wall.

Lastly, I chose to deviate from the instructions again to have a blue wall with off-white lines as opposed to the prescribed blue lines. This was an aesthetic decision. I just really like the swath of blue on the wall.

Code Progression

The code for this project started as a proof of concept with many errors at the beginning and eventually resolving into a usable program.

Wall Drawing Installation

Before even starting on the first line on the wall, there were a lot of unknowns to figure out such as the medium for drawing the lines and the tools to use for drawing large arcs and lines. After a few tests and early mistakes the process became much more clear.

Thank you!

Thanks for reading this far. Please get in touch using any of the links below if you have any comments or questions.