Exhibition from 15. May to 5. July 2014 on the lower floor:




Carl Andre never had much of an affinity for the term
Minimal Art – referring to his love for raw materials,
he preferred to call himself «matterist»: «The periodic
table of elements is for me what the color spectrum is
for the painter.»

Before Carl Andre achieved a breakthrough as an artist,
 his work was hardly given any notice – one gallery 
owner even used his sculptures for firewood. In order 
to survive financially in this situation, Andre took 
a job as a brake-
man with the Pennsylvania Railroad. 
Without a studio and without any materials, but 
not without ideas, he made a virtue of necessity and
 became intensely involved with poetry – something 
that fascinates him since childhood: even before he
 learned to read, the verse in his father’s poetry books
had captivated him «by its plastic liveliness on the 
page compared to the dull grey clog of prose».

Now he is experimenting with pencil and paper as 
well as at the typewriter, where each character takes 
up the same amount of space and is equidistant to
 the next
one, or the one before. This allows Andre 
to use letters
as quasi-serial elements, which in turn 
gives the texts
a sculptural appearance. To arrive at 
these base-ele-
ments, Andre dissects sentences,
 chooses and links words and fragments, stacks 
letters and punctuation marks, irrespective of any
 kind of syntax or grammar.

The years between 1960 and 1964 were formative for
 Andre’s forthcoming work – he refers to this time
 as «my advanced degree in sculpture.» During this 
period, he produced the largest part of his so-called 
poems, which, in 1969, Seth Siegelaub organized into 
seven folders and published as 36 sets with the title 
«Seven Books of Poetry».

Simplicity of Form, not of Experience

When these volumes appeared in 1969, Andre
(born 1935 in Quincy near Boston) had already
done no less than re-define the concept of sculp-
ture. Little by little, he had freed sculpture from
that which so far had been its essence: volume.
At the end of the 1960s, Andre’s works no longer
stood across from the viewers, face to face – on
the contrary, they spread out on the floor, in front
of the viewers, in the form of bricks, raw wood,
simple sheets of zinc, copper, or lead, linked to-
gether according to simple rules. The covered
space: that was the sculpture.

Instead of cutting into his material and working
on it, Andre uses the material itself as a scalpel,
with which he cuts into space. The precisely
placed cuts sharpen the observer’s awareness
that the space feels different through the sheer
presence of the material, that the plates are
definitely perceptible. This has little to do with
feelings or intellect. It has a lot to do with 

Is anything more restrained even imaginable?
Anything so far from artistic pathos and devoid
of the slightest symbolism? Anything that takes
the individual so seriously that it refrains from
offering the least hint for how 
to read it? And
that could any more strongly simply cast
back upon themselves and their own existence?

Art avoids that which is unnecessary, says Carl
Andre –
 he implemented this axiom with stead-
fastness and thus
 paved the way for Minimal Art.
Even in a time in which 
the probability is higher
than ever before that anything
 that is designated
to be art will pass as art, Minimal
 Art is still taxing
the imagination of some as to what
 such reduction
may actually have to do with art. But simplicity
of form is not necessarily the same as simp
of experience. back