Carl Andre


@ Carl Andre, June 8, 2005, Basel

How did you decide on the material and the arrangement of the parts in this piece?
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. Here in Basel, Adam Szymczyk assigned the beautifully proportioned & illuminated Salle 1 to me. In New York, it seemed from the floor plan to be dauntingly long but in fact it proved to be warmly inviting.

What is the order in your 44 Carbon Copper Triads?
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.”

What is the connection between your sculpture and poetry?
The first and most important connection is that they are both made by the same person and both derive from the same life experience. Probably the most important similarity is that they both consist of arrays of discrete particles. My sculptures are a product of my lifelong interest in the properties of matter. My ideal museum would be a display of the 92 or so naturally occurring elements and all of their properties. As for my poetry, I have long since abandoned any attempt to “express myself”. My poetry is a search to find what words themselves say. I choose texts which have great historical or personal interest to me. I dissolve their grammatical structures leaving nothing but the crystallization of the words themselves.

@ Carl Andre, December 10, 2001, London

About my poems
My poems are clastic textiles. That is, my poems are reweavings of fragments of pre-existing texts, mostly not by me. I do not, in my poetry, try to find the words to express what I want to say. In my poetry, I try to find ways to express what the words say.

About my sculptures
The scale of my sculptures has always been limited by my extremely modest & ever-declining physical strength. I do not so much think small as lift small.

@ Carl Andre, May 21, 2005, Glarus

“You can accomplish almost any task if you break it down to units of work small enough to fit your capacities. Thus my sculptures are almost always lines or fields of particles light enough for me to move easily. Hence they are clastic too. People ask me at what point do I know when to stop. The only answer I have come up with so far is “when I run out of me”.”

A cataloguein German and English will follow the exhibition.

This exhibition is generously supported by: