Carl Andre (b. 1935)
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Carl Andre (b. 1935)

Eleventh Cu Prime

Details
Carl Andre (b. 1935)
Eleventh Cu Prime
copper, in thirty-seven parts
each: 3/8 x 1 ¼ x 1 ¼in. (1 x 3 x 3cm.)
overall: 3/8 x 1 ¼ x 43 ¾in. (1 x 3 x 111cm.)
Executed in 2003
Provenance
Galerie Tschudi, Glarus.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Exhibited
Glarus, Galerie Tschudi, Carl Andre: Copper and Timber, 2003.
Special notice

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Post lot text
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

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Alessandro Diotallevi
Alessandro Diotallevi

Lot Essay

‘My life has been a search for my true limits. Such limits define an artist. I realised that my vocation was to use my materials as cuts into space rather than cutting into the space of my materials’
CARL ANDRE

‘My work is atheistic, materialistic, and communistic. It is atheistic because it is without transcendent form, without spiritual or intellectual quality. Materialistic because it is made out of its own materials without pretension to other materials. And communistic because the form is equally accessible to all men’
CARL ANDRE

‘I’ve always been drawn to materials that were strong and durable and would be final in themselves’
CARL ANDRE

Executed in 2003, Eleventh Cu Prime is an exquisite example of Carl Andre’s unique approach to non-referential and non-hierarchical composition. Closely related to his series of Copper Cardinals, the work’s linear form comprises thirty-seven parts – thirty-seven being, as the title denotes, the ‘eleventh prime’ number. Each of the work’s elements is a 3cm square piece of industrially milled copper, as indicated by the chemical symbol ‘Cu’. The placement of the plates is the extent of the installation – each element is laid directly on the floor with no preparation and without joining or securing the pieces in any way. Brazenly invading the space they occupy, these are forms described by Andre as ‘causeways’ – because ‘they cause you to make your way along them or around them or to move the spectator over them’ (C. Andre, quoted in P. Tuchman, ‘An Interview with Carl Andre,’ Artforum 8:10, June 1970, p. 57). This performative aspect of the work was encouraged by the artist, in part as an act of rebellion against perceived staidness of the art world with its mantra of ‘look, but don’t touch.’

The flat metal plates in these works challenge the basic representational premise of sculpture which had dominated the medium for millennia. There is no preferred direction, beginning or end in the plates’ arrangement: they exist, like the floor, as a tangible fact. Quite literally removing sculpture’s pedestal, Andre seeks to divulge nothing with his work other than what is in front of the viewer, embodying Frank Stella’s Minimalist maxim that ‘What you see is what you see’ (F. Stella, quoted in B. Glaser, ‘Questions to Stella and Judd,’ Art News, September, 1966, p. 6). Andre always steered clear of art’s traditional modes, telling the critic Phyllis Tuchman that he had no intention of becoming a carver, modeller, or welder. ‘Even as a child I hated plaster,’ he told her: ‘You always had to turn plaster into something else … I’ve always been drawn to materials that were strong and durable and would be final in themselves’ (C. Andre, quoted in P. Tuchman, ‘An Interview with Carl Andre,’ Artforum 8:10, June 1970, p. 58). With these squares of copper laid in gleaming, uncompromising paths, such finality is triumphantly realised. ‘My life has been a search for my true limits,’ Andre declared. ‘Such limits define an artist. I realised that my vocation was to use my materials as cuts into space rather than cutting into the space of my materials’ (C. Andre, quoted in E. Meyer-Hermann (ed.), Carl Andre: Sculptor 1996, exh. cat. Museen Haus Lange und Haus Esters, Krefeld 1996, p. 54).

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