Artwork of the month February

Fred Sandback, Untitled, 1968/83

Fred Sandback

*1943 in Bronxville/New York, †2003 in New York

Untitled, 1968/83

Red car paint on steel, 4 parts

61 × 61 × 61 cm each, 61 × 289 × 61 cm total

Untitled, 1968/83, which counts among Fred Sandback's early work, consists of four equally spaced red steel wire elements, each aligned at right angles to the oor and wall. Like a drawn line, a drawing in three dimensions, these elements delineate space, thus allowing us to perceive its material presence. In the eye of the beholder, there arises a sequence of geometrical bodies, four cuboids whose volumes are revealed by the difference marked out by the red line. The space-forming elements, oor and wall, serve to complete the transparent three-dimensional object. The piece derives its appeal from the tension which exists between the manifest and that which the viewer adds in his or her imagination. With apparent ease, the artist succeeds here in activating our visual faculty to such an extent that the interspace, the gap between the lines becomes immaterial/ material form. But does this seemingly material form differ from the space which surrounds us?

Sandback's early works were particularly close to the formal vocabulary of minimalism. At the same time, however, his work is also informed by Russian constructivism – Naum Gabo, under whom the artist studied for some time in Yale, had a major in uence on him at the time: "Up to now sculptors have preferred the mass and neglected or paid little attention to such an important component of mass as space ... we consider it as an absolute sculptural element."

In Untitled, 1968/83, the seriality, the repetition of the separate geometrical bodies underscores the arbitrariness of form and, according to Sandback, illustrates the idea of concentrating "on the locus of its [the work's] physical presence" as opposed to on an "idea which transcends the actuality of the pieces. ... What really interests me is the concrete three-dimensional space in which we nd ourselves. ... Basically, the work can only be experienced when you experience and see this."

Denise Rigaud

<b>Fred Sandback, Untitled, 1968/83</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.