The Presence of Absence: New Installations

Artists: Judith Barry, Daniel Buren, Daniel Collins, Dan Graham, Jenny Holzer, Patrick Ireland, Justen Ladda, Sol Lewitt, Lorie Novak, Buky Schwartz, Leni Schwendinger, Lawrence Weiner, and Krzysztof Wodiczko

It is rare that a museum or gallery has the opportunity to truly re-create works of art, thus playing an active and essential role in the fulfillment of an artist's vision. The Presence of Absence: New Installations was an exhibition that realized these opportunities. Thirteen installation works were created by the artists: Judith Barry, Daniel Buren, Daniel Collins, Dan Graham, Jenny Holzer, Patrick Ireland, Justen Ladda, Sol Lewitt, Lorie Novak, Buky Schwartz, Leni Schwendinger, Lawrence Weiner, and Krzysztof Wodiczko. These works were then created anew according to instructions prepared by the artists, with the intention that the gallery's and installers’ interpretations would coincide in the construction of the conceptual pieces. Every work in the exhibition required the participation of others to be executed. The Presence of Absence was a highly unusual exhibition, since the participating artists shipped no art objects to the gallery. Each work was created on-site. All of the pieces were conceived to utilize the gallery's architecture (walls, ceilings, floors, etc.) as their sole support.

The artists invited interpretation of their works, beginning with their construction, which resulted in variations in their executions. The original interpretations of the pieces were first displayed in the gallery alone, and then UIC graduate students re-interpreted the works with their own variations for the second half of the installation period.