DOUGLAS HUEBLER

(b. 1924, Ann Arbor, Michigan – d. 1997, Cape Cod)

“The world is full of objects, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more. I prefer, simply, to state the existence of things in terms of time and/or place.” Douglas Huebler (1969)

“…I began to do drawings and I began to make art in which, rather than try to put the language off the art, I tried to put it right on the art - in the art or as part of the object or whatever it was… So this is something that I haven’t begun to fully explore even now. I’ve made some works that have been directed absolutely towards the use of language and have made works where I’ve used the photograph as a document, but not, I hope, as an ornament.“ Douglas Huebler (1969)

One of the proponents of a new artistic practice called Conceptual Art that began in the 1960s, Douglas Huebler produced works in numerous media often involving documentary photography, maps and text to explore social environments and the effect of passing time on objects through his work.

Variables were one part of what Huebler called his concept-based Site Sculptures. While Location Piece related to space and Duration Piece to time; Variables aimed to ascribe to both space and time and relate them to each other.

Language and photography function as interdependent systems of representation in Huebler’s work. This makes it possible to investigate how different forms of communication influence the perception of reality. Huebler offers observations of the real from many vantage points, presenting them as recorded facts. Variable Piece No. 111 London (1974) is made of 10 photographs, accompanied by a typed text in which the artist describes his way of working as objectively as possible. The programmatic text dictates the meaning of the relations that Huebler registers and analyses. Ostensibly coincidental similarities, encounters or occurrences, are brought together on the basis of arbitrary criteria, allowing the entire world to serve as the artist’s subject matter.
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