144 Copper Square, 1969
144 copper plates
0.95 x 365.8 x 365.8 cm assembled flat; copper plates: .95 x 30.5 x 30.5 cm each
National Gallery of Canada (no. 15897.1-144)
"144 Copper Square" is one of several squares that American sculptor Carl Andre made of various metals: lead, magnesium, iron, zinc, aluminum, and copper. Each square is composed of one metal and shows the distinct physical properties of its material: weight, colour, lustre, the sound that the plate makes when walked upon. To underscore his focus on materials, the artist displayed a periodic table of elements on the wall in earlier installations of these works, referring to the table as his "palette". Reduced to square grids that recall scientific tabulations, Andre's sculptures allow the viewer to observe and experience the materials directly. Even the form he uses refers back to their elemental materiality.
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