Galerie Hubert Winter

Richard Nonas
7. March – 12. April 2008
Als er seinen Schlitten wieder gepackt hatte und
abfahrbereit war, musste er seine Hunde nicht antreiben.
Auch sie wollten diesen Ort verlassen: sie sprangen
ungeduldig auf, legten sich ins Geschirr und zogen an.
Die letzten Zeilen in: John Griesemer, Niemand denkt an Grönland. Dt. v. I. Herzke. Hamburg, marebuchvlg, 2004.

"The cut to home is what strong sculpture most shockingly is; the journey from looking-at to looking-into is what it most importantly accomplishes. Sculpture is the
moving knife and not the cut the knife makes; the procession to and not the end reached.
This show is the itinerary of that."
Richard Nonas (2008)

Richard Nonas (*1936 born and lives in New York) arrived late as an artist on the scene of Minimalism at the end of the sixties. He studied Anthropology under the famous and today, controversial, Margaret Mead, lived and conducted fieldwork with American Indians in New Mexico. This background fits the requirements of a 'contemporary artist'; one who wants everything and never satisfied with being 'just' an artist.
If he is not counted as one of the 'big' ones so far, it has to do with his well-cultivated altruistic attitude: the literary Homage he paid to his comrade, Gordon Matta-Clark, displaced public attention from his own work. This artistic alliance is both complicit and irredeemable. Richard Nonas was not only active in the "anarchitecture" group founded by Matta-Clark, but had already shown a striking strong sculptural work from that time. His work became known through the purchases by the Giuseppe Panza di
Biumo in the sixties and the seventies, as well as his participation in documenta 6 in 1977.
His interest in the spatial relationship defined by sculpture and his exact-constructed environments have brought new realities and experiences to viewers. There is a certain ambiguity in this spatial/sculptural thinking, it seems, with the only dimension being infiniteness. This Sculpture is space, this Sculpture is explicit. One feels what is
there. It is at least a way to decipher.

In the upcoming exhibition, Galerie Hubert Winter will feature photos by the artist made in Nonas's studio in New York and juxtapose them with the real sculptures.

Giuseppe Panza, MEMORIES OF A COLLECTOR (Abbeville Press Publishers, New York
and London, 2007)

"Richard Nonas is the most radical of all the minimalists I collected in the 'sixties and 'seventies.
When I first met Nonas in 1975 his means for making art was mainly a steel bar sheered off at both ends and placed diagonally at forty- five degrees. This was the only difference with respect to a similar bar fresh from the foundry. The greatest possible simplicity for any physically existing object, the final phase of reduction beyond which it is impossible to go. It was this realization that fascinated me and aroused my interest in his work. To arrive at the starting point and the end of all things. Scientists are arduously and anxiously searching for the origin of everything, the algorithm with which the universe is constructed.
Nonas' sculptures were not just a physical but also a philosophical verification. Kant's Critique of Pure Reason applied to everything: in place of the primary forms of thought, the primary forms of reality. Beyond this there is only the noumenon, the unknown, what cannot be described. This is the final point of visibility. Nonas' steel rod, what we call material, is the last visible, but not invisible, point. …
Nonas has transformed [his] anthropological search for the primordial nature of human beings into his sculptures." (pp. 157-158)
"The maxim of simplicity and compositional rigor. It is difficult to go any further than this, the very limit of expressive possibility. I realize the dangers of this situation; on the other hand I am fascinated by the search for extreme limits. When you are near the limits, the presence of the unknown, the mystery of existence, whether ours or of everything, becomes evident. This unknown and mysterious presence is everywhere and in all things, the difficult thing is to know how to see it…. Art's greatest results are on the rare occasions when this presence becomes evident. This explains my preference for fifteenth century Italian and Flemish art. Another example would be the sculptures of Richard Nonas that are similar corrugated geometric forms, like the folds caused by the shifting of the earth's crust." (p. 303)

  • Guiseppe Panza: Notes on Richard Nonas (PDF)
  • Review: DER STANDARD. 2008 (JPG)