Carl Andre. 44 Carbon Copper Triads

44 carbon cubes, each 11.5 x 11.5 x 11.5 cm/ 44 carbon bricks  each 11.5 x 6.4 x 22.9 cm/ 44 copper plates,  each 10 x 10 x 0.4 cm
Exhibition view, Room 1 at Kunsthalle Basel, 2005
Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London; Galerie Tschudi, Glarus
© Kunsthalle Basel 2005

For the exhibition Black Wholes at the Kunsthalle Basel in 2005, American artist CARL ANDRE has used the pattern of the floor as a material base, a game board for the work where he has placed apparently freely 44 units, each of them built of three different components – carbon graphite brick, carbon graphite cube and copper plate. The copper plates fit to the width of the tiles of the oak parquet floor. The other two forms – the brick and the cube – are of slightly different dimensions to the parquet tiles. The decisions as to the location of individual units of material were made by the artist and remained subjective. Just as a road, the sculpture is to walked by and into, navigated along many possible trajectories.

I can only make my sculpture when I have the materials in my hands at the exhibition site. Far from having an idea what I am going to do, I must purge my mind of everything except the desire to do the work. The materials & the space & my life experiences determine the outcome. I have used graphite bricks & cubes because I had previously ordered them through the Sadie Coles Gallery in London for use there. The copper squares come from the Tschudi Gallery in Glarus where I have accumulated a supply of materials. The chevron “Triad” array derives from the diagonal pattering of the Kunsthalle’s parquet floors. For the rest I can only repeat what someone else once wrote – “All art aspires to the condition of music.”

The key to understanding the nature of my sculpture is knowing that I have never had a studio. In the beginning I was simply too poor to afford one. As I started to have some opportunities to show my work it became clear to me that any studio space would only be used to store my materials. Briefly, I have always worked on location, making my sculpture on site at the exhibition space.

While the american artist has been out of the public eye for many years, he has been the subject of a book from Phaidon last year and a retrospective is planned for 2013 at Dia:Beacon, which will be the first American survey of his work since a 1970 show at the Guggenheim Museum.


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