Exclusive: Carl Andre describes ripping up his plans for '5 x 20 Altstadt Rectangle'

In a rare recorded interview, the American Minimalist artist shares his approach to his first work in Europe
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The American minimalist artist Carl Andre is perhaps best known for his sculptures made from square metal plates placed in grid-like formations lying flat on the surface of the ground. Yet over the course of five decades, Andre has created an immense body of work. Andre’s vision lies in his commitment to seeing things as elements: as separable self-contained units. “Any task can be accomplished if you divide it up into units of work small enough,” Andre told Phaidon in a rare interview.  

Andre first entered the public eye in the mid 1960s with a series of works so profoundly simple in their form and arrangement that they helped to redefine sculpture for a whole new generation of artists. In later years, Andre removed himself from the public spotlight and chose to let his work speak for itself.  

Here, in an exclusive audio interview, Andre describes his artistic method and why he ripped up his plans for his first work in Europe, ‘5x20 Altstadt Rectangle’ (1967), for the Konrad Fischer Gallerie in Dusseldorf. "My imagination begins when I have the material in my hand, in the place where it’s going to be,” explains Andre, “I just start working, and to me, the work kind of generates itself.”

This is the first installment in Phaidon’s exclusive series of audio slideshows with Carl Andre.


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