Artwork of the month September

François Morellet, Climbing Beam 30° – 30° – 30°, 2003

François Morellet

*1926 in Cholet, France

Climbing Beam 30° – 30° – 30°, 2003

MDF boards


Four identical fibreboard beams have been used for a spaceembracing composition. The rear beam on the wall marks a vertical, while the three others are arranged in front of it, the end of each beam attached to the one behind it at an angle of 30 degree. Three other shorter parts serve as links to the wall. The basic system can be quickly grasped – and is explicitly referred to in the title.

"So as to curb my 'artist's' sensitivity", Morellet wrote as early as 1971, "I have renounced composition and any focus on execution, and have rigorously used simple and clear sys- tems that could unfold thanks to actual chance or to the collaboration of the viewer." Whether he uses the last digits of telephone numbers taken in strict sequence from the Paris telephone directory to distribute colour squares over a canvas, or applies geomet- rical principles – Morellet always finds systematic approaches that enable him to place constraints on his own arbitrary decisions, reducing them to a minimum.

Certain processes recur throughout the artist's different creative periods. For example, the combination of horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines into a zigzag shape, as in the 1957 oil painting 90° 90° 45° 45°, turns up later in grids of adhesive tape covering architectures, or else in formations of neon tubing. Unlike these, Climbing Beam 30° – 30° – 30° does not scale a wall but instead, through its precise transition from vertical to horizon- tal, creates a closed shape that, by adding another beam, would form a star. Is this a mat- ter of chance, or of artistic intention?


<b>François Morellet, Climbing Beam 30° – 30° – 30°, 2003 </b>
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.