february 9 / 2009

For the lesson on Minimalism I brought a few objects made from zinc sheet iron. I wanted to underline the importance of materials for Robert Morris, Carl Andre and Donald Judd.

The production process was also placed into discussion, as it was very similar to that of an architect. A plan is drawn, which contains 1. the material 2. the dimensions 3. the shape 4. the color. (point number 5 could be the disposition of the objects in space by the artist.)

Then the plan goes to an industrial shop where the object is produced. The final work is the author piece of the Minimal artist.

The connection between Minimalism and shaped canvas was also underlined. Even at that stage it was visible, within a world closely linked to the medium of painting, that there was a tendency to go out of the bi-dimensional space of the canvas into a space with three dimensions. However, this was not done by using the illusion of drawn perspective, but through the very fact that the painting had a shape different than that of a rectangle.

I also wanted to explain the different approaches of these artists. Although Donald Judd used the rectangle or the square in many of his works, he is among those who surpass the banal critiques that were voiced over concerning this movement: intellectualism, dry geometry, the grid. He manages to do that by the very sensuous details of the objects he produced, by being very attentive to materials and colors, and also by coming up with very ingenious solutions.

Robert Morris was represented by one of his works in which the rigor for the adaptation of form, function and placement is a bit problematic. Judd and Andre have very radical solutions, as they make visible all the practical means used to mount or hold the object to the walls or floors. Unlike them, Morris used some holders that we do not see in order to lift the triangle from the ground and to keep it at a certain distance from the neighboring walls, just as in other works of his.

The zinc sheet iron square was a replica of a piece by Carl Andre. Things were quite obvious: the beauty of raw materials, identical modules produced via industrial means, the simplest arrangement in a matrix, on the ground. I had cut the sheet iron with a pair of scissors, so that the identical interchangeable modules turned into a puzzle. This helped me better explain why these artists refused to include the traces of the human hand in the finished object by using industrial means of production, with their inbuilt impersonality and perfection.