Fred Sandback

(United States of America 29 Aug 1943 – 23 Jun 2003)

Untitled (sculptural study, three-part construction)

Not on display
Further information

Fred Sandback was a major figure in the second generation of Minimalist sculptors in America. He was mentored by Richard Serra and his work does similar things with space and architecture yet while Serra's sculpture is always solid deploying massively heavy steel slabs Sandback articulates planes in space using the most fragile of materials.

The black yarn is sufficiently thick to make a clear line to define the rectangle it describes and is the right thickness to be suggestive of the edge of a plane of plate glass. It was Sandback who most convincingly responded to a criticism from Rosalind Krauss that the theatricality of objects that require a human presence inevitably makes the work allusive to the figure and the fact that the objects altered from different points of view made them illusions. Allusion and illusion were the two critical elements that the Minimalists sought to exclude from their work. Sandback pointed out that the key to understanding the importance of anti allusion and illusion was that the sculpture is complete to itself and never points away from the object to any other object in the world. The fact that a viewer might be immersed in the space of the object or that as they move around the space different perspectives may be experienced is entirely to do with the thing itself and is not at all referential.

The yarn is attached to the architecture using a very simple but sophisticated system. A tiny hole is drilled in the floor or ceiling and a thin brass cylinder is inserted and it is this cylinder that takes the yarn so that there is no visible point of attachment on the surface. This attention to detail is essential for the work to become an optical plane rather than appearing as string stretched between visible attachment points.

black acrylic yarn
dimensions variable depending on ceiling height panel width: 91.4 cm
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Purchased with funds provided by the Tony Gilbert Bequest Fund and Penelope Seidler 2012
Accession number