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On Center Shatter-or-Shatterscatter (within the Series of Layered Pattern Acts), 1968–71, panes of glass,

On Center Shatter-or-Shatterscatter (within the Series of Layered Pattern Acts), 1968–71

panes of glass,
91.5 × 151.5 cm or 122 × 183 cm to choice; overall dimensions approx. 7×145×185cm
Former collection Rolf Ricke at Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz, Kunstmuseum St.Gallen, MMK Museum für moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main

On Center Shatter-or-Shatterscatter shows the result of powerful energy hitting several panes of glass stacked on the floor. But what object released the physical forces behind this manifest effect? What action preceded the appearance of forcefully smashed glass? The artist Barry Le Va also refers to his scatter pieces as "distributions" in reference to the countless strewn shards created by the energetic process underlying the genesis of this work. Although its outcome is uncertain and arbitrary, the series of works is subject to deliberately planned rules of execution. On Center Shatter-or-Shatterscatter starts out from five panes of glass of equal size, their dimensions marked out with adhesive tape on the floor of the exhibition venue. One after another, each pane is smashed with one heavy blow of a sledgehammer, after which the next intact pane is placed precisely on the marks, thus temporarily preserving the previous process. The fifth pane is placed in one piece on the field of smashed shards so as to conserve the energetic dynamics of the work's process.


Barry Le Va – like Richard Serra, Robert Morris, Eva Hesse, Gary Kuehn, and others – began to focus on the process of work production in the USA in the 1960s, above and beyond the minimalist intention of an objectified arrangement of form and material in real space. Their aim was to accentuate the manifest inscription of artistic action and the disclosure of the physical, executing gesture. By observing the given elements of On Center Shatter-or-Shatterscatter, the viewer can thus investigate, layer by layer, the traces of the successive process of physical energy discharge and, at the same time, experience the factual presence of the work in space.


- Denise Rigaud 


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.

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