Equal Quantities: Placed or Dropped In, Out, and On in Relation to Specific Boundaries
Barry Le Va (b. 1941) is a leading figure of postminimalism, a sculptural movement that emerged in the United States during the late 1960s and 1970s. Unlike works of minimalist art, which generally feature repeated, hard geometric forms that have typically been fabricated in workshops, postminimalist works are often made of soft materials that have been manipulated by the artist directly. Folded, poured, dropped, or scattered, these works incorporate gravity into the aesthetic result, causing the viewer to imagine these actions and the body of the artist or installer who made the sculpture.
Le Va planned his early masterwork Equal Quantities: Placed or Dropped In, Out, and On in Relation to Specific Boundaries in advance. Diagrams for the work indicate the dimensions and relative placement of the sculpture’s materials: allegedly equal quantities of ball bearings and square sheets and particles of felt arranged around divisions marked by steel bars. The viewer judges where the materials are (inside, outside, or on top of the bars) and whether they were placed or dropped there. Like a piece of music, Le Va’s work varies each time it is made. As the artist describes in this film, the outcome is the result of the choices and actions of the person who installs it.