Lawrence Weiner has been one of the leading figures in conceptual art since the 1960s. He issued a statement at an early stage defining his art as “information”, and continues to work with language as his primary medium. His work encourages viewers to confront the world around them while addressing their perception of logic, time and space. Material components, colours, and depiction of time and space interact, cultivating experience and interpretation and rousing the imagination through symbolic words. Places of presentation are not limited to exhibition spaces like museums and galleries but spread to building walls, billboards, and even manhole covers, so that the work becomes part of the city even as the cityscape is brought into the work. His work does not necessarily exist only in the context of specific sites, but it is connected with the character of the city it is installed in and its cultural and social background.
This commissioned work was created based on research into Maebashi’s history, climate, topography, and even the meaning behind its city vision. The words and shapes were inspired by Maebashi’s characteristic wind and river, and conceptualised from dynamic imagery of wind and rain from the mountains and prairies shaping the river that cuts through the soil before reaching the sea and the wider world.
As a result, the work reframes Maebashi for the viewer as a place where “heavens”, “prairies”, “sea” and “mountains” intersect. Harmony with the colours seen in the surrounding scenery is also carefully considered: red for the sun, green for the trees on the mountains, Weiner’s signature light blue for cloudless skies, and yellow evoking warm light behind the text.
Installed on the outer wall of Shiroiya Hotel’s Heritage Tower, facing Route 50, the work will add colour to the daily lives of people living in Maebashi and act as a landmark inviting visitors in.