Don’t Miss – London: Fred Sandback at Whitechapel Gallery, through August 14th, 2011

August 13th, 2011

Fred Sandback, Broadway Boogie Woogie (Sculptural Study, Twenty-part Vertical Construction), 1991/2011. Courtesy of Abstract Critical.

Whitechapel Gallery is exhibiting work of the late artist Fred Sandback, who passed away in 2003. Departing from the somewhat mystical notions of the unreality of objects and the malleability of empty spaces, Sandback’s yarn sculptures slice the gallery’s spatial emptiness with straight angles, mimicking geometrical shapes, which, to the observer’s eye, appear and disappear into thin air.

More text and images after the jump…

Fred Sandback, Untitled (Sculptural Study, Seven-part Right-angled Triangular Construction), c.1982/2010. Courtesy of Whitechapel Gallery.

On account of the minimalist’s pursuit of artistic deskilling, Sandback created sculptures describing barely perceptible gestures out of such an everyday material as acrylic yarn. The sculptures’ material frailty and lack of a tangible “inside,” allows for an almost open interpretation of the spaces they interact with, since, by propitiating the acknowledgment of perimeters departing from the gallery’s material boundaries, it evidences the interplay of dimensions, while anchoring a certain notion of the sculptures’ own impossibility.

Fred Sandback, Untitled (Sculptural Study, Seven-point Triangular Construction), 1982/2010. Courtesy of The Arts Desk.

Fred Sandback Untitled (Sculptural Study Seven Part Triangular Construction), 1982/2010. Courtesy of Momardi.

The show at the newly renovated Whitechapel Gallery effectively echoes Sandback’s pursuit of emancipating the most basic geometrical shapes by detaching them from the formulaic context of composition. His sculptures point out at the contradiction in the work of art, constructed by lights and shadows, and which ultimately lies in the eyes of the observer.  This aesthetic, but also somewhat sociocultural commentary present on the artist’s work remains among the boldest and most intricate ones in art history, establishing Sandback as a seminal figure in contemporary artistic practice and theory.

Fred Sandback, Untitled (Eight-Part Vertical Construction), 1992. Courtesy Zwirner and Wirth, via Art:21.

– M. Silva

Related Links:

Fred Sandback [Abstract Critical]
Fred Sandback [Whitechapel Gallery]
Fred Sandback, Whitechapel Gallery [The Arts Desk]
Longing for the Minimalist Life: Fred Sandback at The Whitechapel Gallery [Momardi]
Letter from London | World on a String [Art:21]