Artwork of the month March

Louise Nevelson, Night Plant Case I, 1959

Louise Nevelson

*1900 in Kiev, † 1988 in New York

Night Plant Case I, 1959

Wood, paint
Pedestal 90x38.5x10.2cm

Acquired with funds from Lampadia Stiftung, Vaduz; LSK 1997.03

Stacked and layered assemblages of crates and boxes, combined with found objects, mostly made of wood, are typical of Louise Nevelson's oeuvre. She would collect all manner of junk, such as table or chair legs, and other fragments of furniture that had been discarded on the streets of New York, and integrate them into her sculptures. Their monochromatic painted finish is another distinctive hallmark of her work.

The wall piece Night Plant Case I is a rectangular box structure with narrow sides mounted vertically on a specially built plinth. The floor of the box stands parallel to the wall, presenting its contents to the viewer like a showcase: on three lengths of wood, individual items such as a chair leg are placed like a secondary layer of organic forms. These found objects, painted in the same black as the box itself, become transformed. Detached from their original context and no longer mere wooden parts, they conjure a new, mysteriously ethereal dream world whose surreal quality is further heightened by the enigmatic title Night Plant Case l. The monochrome black pulls the diverse fragments together to form a single abstract entity, which appears to tell a story.

Nevelson's complex, multi-layered groupings of objects are sometimes monumental in scale, transforming not only the way they are perceived, but also the space they occupy. There are echoes of Cubism in the fragmentation and collagelike aspects of her work. The Abstract Expressionist focus on a non-figurative portrayal of the inner world of the artist can also be found in Nevelson's sculptures. During the 1930s and 40s, she inter- preted and built on the predominant currents of Modernism in ways that were seminal in shaping the American avant-garde. Today, she is recognised as one of the foremost sculptors of the twentieth century.

<b>Louise Nevelson, Night Plant Case I, 1959
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.