‘THE CREST OF A WAVE’ by Lawrence Weiner was a project in four parts – a distributed ephemeral sculpture, a wall installation, a sound work and an action – together each asked what might constitute a public sculpture. Weiner's new work triggered a chronicle of Spain’s mercantile and maritime history, equestrian and commercial power, offering a biography of materials and a testament to the transmutability of language.
On the 24 September 2008, coinciding with the festivities of Mercè, the patron saint of Barcelona, an ephemeral sculpture by Weiner was distributed throughout over 70 emblematic bars, cafes and restaurants in the city to accompany café con leche, cortado, carajillo, or conversation. Printed on hundreds of thousands of standard 7 gram white sugar sachets in three languages, Weiner’s striking typographic rendition of the statement A CLOTH OF COTTON WRAPPED AROUND A HORSESHOE OF IRON TOSSED UPON THE CREST OF A WAVE, was accompanied by an emblem which evoked the trajectory of a certain horseshoe over a wave in diagrammatic form. The second and third parts were exhibited at Nivell Zero at Fundació Suñol, where Weiner presented an adaptation of the statement painted on an exterior wall of the courtyard in Catalan, Spanish and English.
In the interior space one could listen to the same statement within a catchy musical composition based on a track by Ned Sublette and The Persuasions. Listen to the track here:
The last element of the project manifested itself as an event realized by the sea during the opening week of the exhibition: an iron horseshoe was wrapped in a cotton cloth and was tossed upon a wave’s crest. Lawrence Weiner has been a key figure in the development of Conceptual art from the late 1960s to the present. Weiner investigates forms of display and distribution that challenge traditional assumptions about the nature of the art object. Weiner describes himself as a sculptor whose medium is language, and his work is a manifestation of language itself: ‘statements’ that describe sculptural gestures, ideas or actions which are usually articulated in capital lettering printed on walls, but which have also been realised in a range of supports, from books, films and songs to T-shirts, tattoos, manhole covers and posters. These statements conjure up a range of actions from the very general, such as A TRANSLATION FROM ONE LANGUAGE TO ANOTHER to the more specific, e.g. MANY COLOURED OBJECTS PLACED SIDE BY SIDE TO FORM A ROW OF MANY COLOURED OBJECTS.
'Lawrence Weiner: THE CREST OF A WAVE' Edited by: Latitudes Published by: Fundació Suñol Text: Latitudes Graphic design: bang! bang! Format: 210 x 150 mm, 16pp Languages: Spanish, Catalan and English; Date of Publication: October 2008 Special thanks to Bethany Izard, Alice Zimmerman, Pierre-Jean Moulis; TOJAY; Roger Soler-Pont and bang! bang!