Abstract wire creation by Ruth Asawa

Ruth Asawa

American, 1926–2013

Untitled, S.621 (Hanging, Six-Lobed,

Multi-Layered, Interlocking

Forms with a Sphere in the Third Lobe), c. 1973

Looped brass and copper wire

77 x 16 ½ x 16 ½ inches



Asawa’s wire creations are sculptures that seem to be drawn in space. Her time as a student at Black Mountain College had was critical to her development. Her professors included Merce Cunningham, Ilya Bolotowsky, Buckminster Fuller, and most importantly, Josef Albers, from whom she learned color theory and design, the value of experimenting with different materials, the importance of negative verses positive space, and the relationship of two-dimensional to three-dimensional designs.

For Asawa, wire would be the medium with which she would draw. Her frequent use of contrasting types of wire adds drama by interweaving contrasting texture and color within a unified design. She said, “I was interested in … the economy of a line, making something in space, enclosing it without blocking it out. It’s still transparent. I realized that if I was going to make these forms, which interlock and interweave, it can only be done with a line because a line can go anywhere.”

Abstract wire creation by Ruth Asawa