CARL ANDRE

(b. 1935, Quincy, Massachusetts, lives and works in New York)

Carl Andre’s early works, produced during the 1960s, consisted mainly of wooden sculptures that were influenced by the style of Constantin Brancusi and the Black Paintings of his friend Frank Stella. Andre was a leading member of the minimalist movement, which coalesced during the early to mid-1960s. His most significant contribution was to distance sculpture from processes of carving, modeling, or constructing, and to make works that simply involved sorting and placing. He suggested that his procedure for composing a sculpture from small, regularly-shaped units was based on “the principle of masonry construction” - like stacking up bricks to build a wall. Andre insisted on personaly installing all his new works and paid particular attention to the scale and proportion of their surroundings, yet he allowed them to be dismantled and reconstructed without his direct involvement.

Andre’s works adhere to symmetric forms and repetitions, creating order, tranquillity and balance as in the case of Twenty-fifth steel Cardinal (1974). This work can be understood in terms of three construction phases: sculpture as form, sculpture as structure and sculpture as space. The work interferes in, occupies and gives shape to space, without filling it, even though it lacks considerable volume, depth, thickness, mass and weight. Understanding “sculpture as place”, Andre ascribes to this work the perception of space based on a direct relationship between the body of the viewer and the work of art. Twenty-fifth steel Cardinal ceases to be an object of observation as the viewer is invited to walk upon it, to listen and feel how their relationship to the work is experienced in time and space. To this end, the materials that are used are extremely relevant as each offers a specific type of reverberation and tactility. The decision to employ iron, steel, aluminium, lead, copper or zinc belongs, according to Andre, to the “difference between copper and aluminium being a lot further than that between red and green.”
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