Carl Andre

"The course of development:
Sculpture as form
Sculpture as structure
Sculpture as place."

- Carl Andre, 1966

Carl Andre is a highly original “minimalist” sculptor and poet. Normally his works consist of identical commercially produced materials, such as bricks, metallic plates, cement blocks that are organized in simple geometrical arrangements. For example Andre’s 144 Copper Square consists of copper tiles that are laid down in a twelve-foot square configuration.

Andre credits his experience as a railroad brakeman and conductor as pivotal for his explorations as an artist. Railroads are straight parallel lines and railroad trains consist of varied arrangements of materials.

Andre’s works can be characterized by four important characteristics, flatness, modular compositions using standardized untransformed materials in repetition, generic space and use of ordinary materials and forms. This is exemplified by Lever, which consists of a row of 137 firebricks lined up end to end. The work transforms a space very simply, and the bricks hug the floor. Some of his more recent work has deviated from these principles, using natural materials such as glacial rocks that are arranged in simple patterns.

Collection of the Library and Archives, National Gallery of Canada