Larry Bell. Complete Cubes

Through 23 Sep 2018


larry bell
“Complete Cubes” Larry Bell 23 Jun – 23 Sep @HAUSER AND WIRTH LOS ANGELES


No doubt, this is the best exhibitions of this summer 2018. Hauser and Wirth have given to LA artist Larry Bell, the exhibition he deserves. Finally I would add…

It is not only a retrospective of all sorts of cubes the artist was able to create, a whole room is dedicated to three magnificent new pieces.

Larry Bell’s experience of the light is inherent to his work. The Light -from where ever it comes from and whatever its brightness is- is the major source of interest and curiosity of the artist.  He is forever intrigued by that simple natural element he tries to capture and play with.

In the first room of the exhibition a pretty good retrospective displays all shapes of cubes he would do since his beginnings. It shows that even with 6 pieces of glass you can create different aesthetics, almost different moods.

exhibition view


Working with light has given the artist both a constraint and a liberation of his creativity within that constraint. If French artist, Claude Viallat, has “cracked the code of colors” I would say that Larry Bell has dig so much into that process of light to say that he has “cracked the codes of light” He is able to capture the light as well as to exclude it from his work. What the exhibition don’t show is the “Vapor series” that literally capture the light to lay it down on a sheet of paper!

And the colors appears…

A late series of cubes appears since his exhibition for and at the Whitney Biennial in 2017, to which he introduces colors inside the cubes to play not only with the light but with the saturation of color. See below the video Minh Swenson

At Hauser and Wirth, Larry Bell shows another version of red cubes that plays more with the transparancy/opacity. Three gigantic cubes are on display like the pyramids in the desert of Egypt.

 An inexplicable mystical beauty…

It is breathtaking. It’s first of all a physical experience, an immersion into Larry Bell’s universe. The whole display puts the visitor in a position of whispering rather than speaking in a normal voice. A thick wool carpet on the floor blocks all the sounds which amplifies that breathtaking effect.

At the Whitney the cubes played more with the visual effect made by the layers of the color red. At Hauser & Wirth, the cubes contain one more dimension, an inexplicable mystical beauty. Each cube carries another cube with its own color, like a mother his child. The inner cube is precious, protected, unreachable because the other cube surrounds it with a fog aspect in between that adds some more barrier.

We can easily imagine a world of serenity inside those white, blue and red cubes, a world where nothing bad happens, where it’s all good like in Paradise…

beatrice chassepot, Los Angeles,  July 4th, 2018