A founding figure of Conceptual Art in its emergence in the late 1960s, Lawrence Weiner is regarded as one of the most pivotal artists working today with a career of over fifty years. Using language as his medium, Weiner considers himself a sculptor, and his artworks are ideas that can be transformed into a multitude of forms ranging from being “painted across an entire building, floating inside a souvenir biro or sung as a lyric by a country and western band.” (Alberro and Zimmerman, 1998)
Within a Realm of Distance at Blenheim Palace is a meeting of 1960s New York Minimalism and ebullient English Baroque, complementary and yet autonomous, two worlds and times colliding and coexisting in the space together. The exhibition features existing works in addition to new site-specific works created especially for the Palace. Artworks are integrated throughout the internal palace rooms such as the ceiling of the Long Library, which now shows ‘More Than Enough‘ (2015), and in the 1st State Room ‘Far Enough Away As To Come Readily To Hand‘ (2015) replaced part of the tapestry of the Battle of Blenheim. The brightly coloured idioms in Weiner’s signature graphic typeface take on panoplies of meaning within this new, rich setting. The title work ‘Within A Realm Of Distance‘ (2015) surmounts the grand portico at the entrance in three-dimensional turquoise letters, expressing Weiner’s initial response to Blenheim Palace: one of wonder yet also detached distance, as if entering a seemingly otherworldly realm, far away from modern, everyday reality.
In this exhibition, Blenheim Palace – seemingly frozen in the eighteenth- century – is propelled into the present, whilst Weiner’s work reversely takes on a timeless quality. The Palace, a centre for high art and culture when first built, is reactivated through the juxtaposition of old and new which generated new meaning, understanding and appreciation