Critics’ Picks

Installation view, 2006.

Installation view, 2006.


Carl Andre

Sadie Coles HQ | Balfour Mews
9 Balfour Mews
July 24, 2013–April 22, 2006

Arranged in succession, Carl Andre’s installation Graphite Cube Sum of Numbers, 2006, multiplies across the gallery floor. Eight triangular groupings of dark blocks line the base of an unadorned white wall, each cube’s dimensions precisely (if unintentionally) matching the width of the polished parquet floorboards on which they lay. These cumulative structures demonstrate a simple mathematical progression, with the number of each set’s units rapidly increasing from three to forty-five in concordance with its base’s incremental growth from two to nine (Graphite Cube Sum of Two, 2006, to Graphite Cube Sum of Nine, 2006). These minimal sculptures, built from the material most commonly used for sketching and note-taking—preliminary steps in the construction of text—cleverly implicate Andre’s concrete poetry. A series of framed pages, Typewriter Trials for ‘Shooting a Script’, 1975, thoughtfully develops this theme in an upstairs room. In these works, the same series of events repeats methodically, in varying order and degrees of truncation, with the texts’ formal attributes and narrative action at times becoming as dense as the graphite blocks in the sculptures on the floor below. Strictly observant and unemotional, the story moves at a routine pace, noting actions within an urban grid: “I walked out on the street and saw Tom Davis on the sidewalk. He had just passed the doorway, going toward Austin Street.” These poems often repeat the “I” (punning, perhaps, on the homonymous “eye” and the primacy accorded to it in Andre’s sculptures), locating the individual as the privileged site of order and control.