December 13, 2012

Sculptor Carl Andre exhibits at Turner Contemporary, 2013

Carl Andre: Mass & Matter
Turner Contemporary, Kent, UK 
1 February - 6 May 2013

Carl Andre building Cedar Piece, 1964 Document #37. 
Photo by Martin Ries / Gannett Ries Digital Designs
Courtesy of Turner Contemporary

Carl Andre: Mass & Matter brings together a group of sculptures and poems by one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. Along with his contemporaries Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Robert Morris and Sol LeWitt, Carl André (American, b. 1935) is a leading artist associated with the emergence of Minimalism in the United States in the mid-1960s

Carl Andre is famous for his sculptures made of ordinary industrial materials which are arranged directly on the floor in simple linear arrangements or grids. By reducing sculpture to its most basic elements and re-orientating it from the vertical to the horizontal plane, Carl Andre helped to redefine the possibilities of sculpture for a whole generation of artists. 

Carl Andre, Timber Piece, 1970
Museum Ludwig, Cologne
Courtesy of Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln, rba_c024180

This exhibition, Carl Andre’s first in a UK public gallery for over ten years, brings together eight sculptures made between 1967 and 1983, alongside a collection of his typed poems from the same period. At the heart of the exhibition, and of Carl Andre’s practice, is a concern with materials, which for Andre has always meant the common materials of everyday production – wood, bricks and metals such as aluminium, copper, steel, magnesium and lead. Carl Andre selects standard, commercially available units of these materials for his sculptural arrangements without altering them. He has said, ‘my ambition as an artist is to be the ‘Turner of matter’. As Turner severed colour from depiction, so I attempt to sever matterfrom depiction.’

Carl Andre, Weathering Piece, 1970 
Courtesy of stichting kröller-müller museum

Like other artists associated with Minimalism, Carl Andre is concerned with the character of different materials. The artist describes wood as ‘the mother of matter’. Bricks are as valid materials for making art for Carl Andre as oil paint or plaster. The sculptor considers bricklayers to be ‘people of fine craft’.

Carl Andre’s poetry is based on a similar process of reduction. Individual words and phrases, often taken from pre-existing sources, are arranged on the page according to certain criteria, isolated and freed from all grammar. His poems are as concerned with the visual appearance of words on a page as with the content of the language itself. Although some of his earliest poems were handwritten, most of Andre’s text works from the late 1960s were produced on a manual typewriter, which automatically sets letters down in grid-like rows and columns analogous

A number of works in the exhibition date from the 1960s - a key period of Carl Andre’s career -such as 4 x 25 Altstadt Rectangle (1967). Carl Andre has worked with bricks throughout his career and this exhibition includes the more recent 60 x 1 Range Work (1983), a single line of equilateral bricks placed together to form a triangular prism. 

Rendezvous, Margate, Kent CT9 1HG, UK
A programme of events will run alongside the exhibition, engaging adults and children with the artworks, materials and the artist.

Carl Andre: Mass & Matter will tour to mima, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art from 14 June until 19 September 2013. 

In the United States, Dia Art Foundation in New York will organize the first North American retrospective of the work of Carl Andre with the exhibition Carl Andre: Sculpture as Place, 1958-2010, May - December 2014.