Artwork of the month March

Bill Bollinger, Wire Piece, 1970

Bill Bollinger

*1939 in New York, † 1988 in Pine Plains/New York

Wire Piece, 1970

Chain­link fence
298 x 204.5 cm
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein Former Collection Rolf Ricke at the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main KML 06.23

Bill Bollinger was a crucial figure on the international art scene in the 1960s and 70s. His works were shown at legendary exhibitions in New York and Europe and their titles still testify today to a new handling of materials in art. Following Minimal Art, which used industrially­manufactured elements, usually serially, artists now availed themselves of the specific physical properties of those materials as a component that would determine the work. Bollinger's materials are oil barrels, aluminium pipes, plastic hoses, work lamps, hemp ropes, turnbuckles, wheelbarrows, wooden laths, etc.

His Wire Piece of 1970 consists of a large piece of chain­link fence attached to the wall, flat but not flush with it; the mesh stands out slightly from the surface. The fine waves produce a subtly dynamic image, with the silvery­grey wire causing the plane to shimmer, bright and dark, in the light. Although the mesh seems like a pattern drawing on the wall, it is nevertheless three­dimensional, oscillating between plane and space, drawing and relief, and repeatedly leaving the viewer to himself with this irritation. This was an experience to which American painting in the 1940s aspired under the term of the sublime, a word the artists borrowed from the experience of the forces of nature. Bollinger, who studied aeronautical engineering before turning to painting, was aware of the dimensions both of space and of the ocean, and was clearly overwhelmed by both.

Bollinger already pointed to the borderline between painting and object, between sec­ ond and third dimension, in his first paintings (the so­called shaped canvases), which have not survived, and in the Channel Pieces (his earliest surviving works). Generally speaking, issues related to painting are always relevant to his spatial works. For his Wire Piece he knowledgeably used the inherent qualities of the chainlink fence: it is flexible, pliable, and thus seeks its own form.

<b>Bill Bollinger, Wire Piece, 1970</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.