Mark Luyten is a Belgian artist who uses film, photography, and found objects in his mostly conceptual work. In 1993 the Walker Art Center commissioned him to create a body of work addressing the relationship between the Walker building and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. He visited for a few days at the solstice of each season over a period of two years from 1993 to 1994, each time working with Walker staff and others to create installations, photographs, and film and video works.
Each work spoke to the close and communicative relationship between the artist and the institution. Luyten placed his work in the liminal spaces of the museum–in the director’s and curators’ offices, on the windows of Gallery 8 Restaurant, in the hallways and stairwells of the museum, and throughout the Garden. The installations remained where he placed them for the entire season until he returned again to replace those with new ones in other locations. He often brought elements from his studio in Belgium, such as the rubbing of his studio floor seen in the photograph here. During one of his visits, Luyten placed a crystal sphere on top of the wall of the outdoor Sculpture Plaza. Soon thereafter it was stolen, but the most intriguing aspect of the work–the reflection of the Garden within the sphere–disappeared as soon as it was removed.
As Luyten’s work is often ephemeral, reusable, and time-based, most of it defies ownership. The commissioning agreement detailed that the Walker would collect, through the Garden Acquisition Fund, any works created while Luyten was in residence. What remains in the Walker’s collection are the material components of his installations, such as the shells, photograph, and glass sphere shown here. With Luyten’s permission, his installation of rubber-stamped words is recreated on the doors of the gallery. A document of his residency is on view on the Walker website.