Haus Konstruktiv, Zürich announces major solo exhibition of work by Leon Polk Smith
9 February 2023
From 9 February – 7 May 2023, Haus Konstruktiv in Zürich, Switzerland presents a comprehensive exhibition of painting and sculpture by Leon Polk Smith.
The retrospective exhibition is the first institutional solo presentation of work by the artist in Europe for around twenty years and the first ever in a Swiss museum. Over four floors, it combines works from almost all creative phases of Smith's career from the mid-1940s to the late 1980s, presented largely in chronological order.
Regarded as a foremost representative of geometric abstraction, Smith began making paintings in the 1930s, which were strongly visually anchored in the indigenous culture of his surroundings. During several study visits to New York City from 1936 and upon his eventual move there in 1944, Smith came into contact with artists and works of classical modernism and with current art movements, and above all the pictorial language of Piet Mondrian and De Stijl that prompted his orthogonal pictorial compositions in primary colors.
These early compositions from the 1940s, based on Mondrian and Swiss artist Fritz Glarner, form the prelude to the exhibition at Haus Konstruktiv, which was created in close cooperation with the Leon Polk Smith Foundation in New York and comprises works from private and public collections. Alongside Smith's earlier paintings are sophisticated two-tone compositions from the context of Hard-Edge painting of the late 1950s and 1960s, of which he is considered one of the founders; multi-part shaped canvases that epxress Smith's spatial considerations; as well as collages, prints, reliefs and a painted screen that encourage our interaction.
A catalog to accompany the exhibition will be published by Hatje Cantz in German and English in April 2023, with texts by Sabine Schaschl (director of Museum Haus Konstruktiv), Brandon Taylor (professor emeritus for art history at the University of Southampton, UK), Margit Weinberg Staber ( Art publicist and first director of the Museum Haus Konstruktiv) and David M. Roche (director at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona) as well as numerous exhibition views.
Find further information via Haus Konstruktiv.
Image © Leon Polk Smith Foundation, courtesy Haus Konstruktiv. Photography by Stefan Altenburger