American artist Keith Sonnier emerged in the 1960s as one of a generation of artists, which included Bruce Nauman, Eva Hesse, and Richard Serra, who challenged conventional notions of sculpture, working with industrial or everyday materials.
He discusses his sculptures and his pioneering use of neon with Lydia Yee, Whitechapel Gallery Chief Curator. A defining element of his work, neon allows him to draw with light and colour in space, creating an interaction with architecture and the elements of his pieces, which can include glass, fabric and foam.
Coinciding with the opening of Keith Sonnier: Light Works at the Whitechapel Gallery.
Keith Sonnier (b. 1941, Louisiana) graduated with a B.A. from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette in 1963, then went on to receive an M.F.A. from Rutgers University in 1966. Over the past two decades, Keith Sonnier has received international recognition for his large-scale works specific to renowned landmarks. Most recently, the artist’s work was exhibited by the Fondazione Prada as part of When Attitudes Become Form: Bern 1969/Venice 2013.
Sonnier has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout his career, including at Documenta 5, Kassel (1972); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Venice Biennale (1972, 1982); and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Sonnier’s work can be found in dozens of public and private collections worldwide, including Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Stedelijik Museum, Amsterdam, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Keith Sonnier currently lives and works in New York City and Bridgehampton, New York.