‘A sculpture made with just a few lines may seem very purist or geometrical at first. My work isn’t either of these things. My lines aren’t distillations or refinements of anything. They are simple facts, issues of my activity that don’t represent anything beyond themselves. My pieces are offered as concrete, literal situations, and not as indications of any other sort or order.’ Fred Sandback, Statement, 1977
Lisson Gallery Milan presents an historic selection of works by the American artist Fred Sandback (1943-2003), his first solo exhibition in Italy for five years. Three key works will be displayed in the main galleries, typifying Sandback’s elegant yet minimal methods of spatial organization. There will also be a number of drawings and scale models of as-yet unrealised pieces dating back to his exhibition with Lisson Gallery in London in 1977.
Each of the trio of large pieces, constructed either in black or red acrylic yarn, is triangular in planar or plan view, including one corner work, Untitled (Cornered Triangle, Fifth of Ten Cornered Constructions) of 1980, that utilizes three equal lengths of acrylic fibre to create an equilateral triangle leaning against the corner of a room, forming a tetrahedron. The other two works have triangular footprints, one resembling a convergence of two vertical planes narrowing towards a point and the other being constructed of three L-shaped forms that appear either to float freely or else coalesce into a visible wedge on the gallery floor.
The suite of original drawings, executed in delicate pencil and pastel, and the resulting small-scale maquettes, newly built to their specifications, refer to Sandback’s solo exhibition, ‘Constructions and Drawings’, which took place at Lisson’s original gallery location at 66-68 Bell Street, from 11 October to 19 November, 1977. These pieces proposed for the show by Sandback were never carried out and have only now been brought to light.
About the artist
Born in Bronxville, New York in 1943, Fred Sandback became known primarily as a Minimalist artist, alongside his contemporaries Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt and Carl Andre. Working with elastic cord and acrylic yarn to delineate or bifurcate three-dimensional space, Sandback was also a forerunner of and a major influence on many of today’s installation artists. Despite his own matter-of-fact artistic statements about his practice, the work conjures up references to architecture, music, painting, sculpture and even music, given his early fascination for stringed musical instruments. Current exhibitions of his work include: ‘When Attitudes Became Form: Bern 1969/Venice 2013’ at Fondazione Prada; ‘Fred Sandback: A Drawing Retrospective’, organized by the Kunstmuseum Winterthur, will open there in Spring 2014, and tour to the Josef Albers Museum, Bottrop, and Museum Wiesbaden. Major solo exhibitions of his work have been mounted at the Whitechapel Gallery (2011), Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz (2005 and touring); Dia Art Foundation sponsored the Fred Sandback Museum in Winchendon, Massachusetts (1981-1996), Sandback’s work is on permanent display at Dia:Beacon.