Influential works conceived by the American conceptual artist over the course of his 50-year career are joined by new site-specific commissions created especially for the palace.
Recognised as one of the founding figures of conceptual art in the 1960s, Lawrence Weiner is wholly self-taught. He made his debut as an artist aged just 19, and spent the early part of his career setting off explosions in the landscape of California to create craters as individual sculptures. In 1968 he published his Declaration of Intent:
1. The artist may construct the piece
2. The piece may be fabricated
3. The piece need not be built
Each being equal and consistent with the intent of the artist, the decision as to condition rests with the receiver upon the occasion of receivership.
Weiner's practice is largely typographic; he works on composing texts that describe process, structure, and material. Although language-based he regards it as sculpture, saying that the elements he writes about are his materials.
This approach was directly inspired by his childhood in the South Bronx: 'I didn’t have the advantage of a middle-class perspective. Art was something else; art was the notations on the wall, or the messages left by other people.
'I grew up in a city where I had read the walls; I still read the walls. I love to put work of mine out on the walls and let people read it. Some will remember it and then somebody else comes along and puts something else over it. It becomes archaeology rather than history'.
An important aspect across Weiner's work is site-specificity. The rich heritage of Blenheim Palace and its historic collections provide a particularly interesting structure for his new creations.