The king of minimalism, Carl Andre is back with his bricks.
‘I am not known, I am notorious.‘ Carl Andre is talking history and encounters with the British media. Blame it on the country‘s so-called puritanism or obsession with ‘being taken for a ride‘. Andre‘s Equivalent VIII, less endearingly dubbed ‘a pile of bricks,‘ stirred the press into an abusive furore when it was shown at London‘s Tate in 1976.
Meeting up with the American artist is to encounter an art world revolutionary. The 20th century master of minimalism had the guts to prune back the superfluous - where there was flock-wall paper, he gave us raw surfaces - and, let's face it, the bulk of us are gluttons for surface charm. We want flesh on the bone and Andre had the gall to deliver the barest of bones - bricks.
His work has not filled out in the ensuing years. Now in his 605, Andre, in his new work for the Royal Botanic Gardens, has arranged 288 blocks of Scottish red sandstone into twelve configurations each of 24 blocks. It‘s bound to provoke a symphony of dismissive tuts from some quarters.
Andre does not go for the visual jugular. In an age of optic nerve overload, he opts for the
contemplative. ‘Everything these
days is trying to excite,‘ he says.
‘Instead of excitation, this goes for serenity, causing us
to pause and slow down.’
He‘s right. Walk through the gallery and each configuration articulates the space. A turn here and a pause there, it‘s rather like t’ai chi made art. But where I talk about movement, Andre talks about music - a Bach Fugue. And it's an analogy that makes sense. Tune in and you get the rhythm. Each configuration is a beat.
But Andre has no time for the conceptual bandwagon.
‘I am not a conceptual, I am not interested in ideas.‘
Instead Andre favours the concept trash can; binning all that he terms ‘dross‘, the mental litter that just clutters. ‘I make things, I don‘t analyse.‘ is Andre‘s retort to questions of meaning. And it makes sense. (Susanna
R For details see Hit list, right.
End Of An Age
Moody groover: one of Paul Graham's I young clubbers
90 TIIEIJST 13-20 Aug 1998
Pick any town in the developed world, on any weekend, and the pubs and clubs will be teeming with youngsters searching for that elusive good time. Exploring the passage from youthful innocence to fully-fledged adulthood, photographer Paul Graham has taken portraits of today's youth out on the razz.
Looking at our need to escape from reality, whether motivated by boredom or fear, the large-scale portraits present the lost souls, surrounded by high-tech distractions, yet opting for melancholic withdrawal from the gaze of the world. The shots switch between brilliantly clear and out-of-focus images - the former represent the shocking truth of full-on consciousness, the latter our innate desire to shield ourselves from that reality.
’We live like that on a daily basis -
seeing our future before us but at the same time constantly running away from what we see, by getting drunk, stoned or whatever,’ believes Graham.
Researching the exhibition with nightly forays into pubs, clubs and illegal parties while house-sitting for a friend in an affluent central European city, Graham was struck by the fact that kids of the wealthy had as much, if not more, capacity to screw up their lives than the less well-off.
'It shows the children of the white First World, who are set to inherit a century of capitalist wealth and a corresponding burden of responsibility,’ says Graham. Jeepers, the future of the world in the hands of the Hooch generation. (Claire Prentice)
a End Of An Age, Paul Graham, Portfolio Gallery (Venue 42) 220 191 1, until Sat 19 Sep, Mon—Sat 10am-5.30pm, £ 1.50 (75p).
“Art guaranteed to hit the optical
Carl Andre See preview, left. Royal Botanic Garden, 248 2943, Sat 15 Aug—Sun 4 Oct, daily 10—5pm. Nature Morte See review, left. The Bongo Club (Venue 143) 558 7604, until Sun 30 Aug, 1—10pm.
Mona hatoum She swallowed a camera to film her slimy, labyrinthine insides. She collects strands of her own hair to make necklaces. Hatoum's work entices and horrifies, reviles and intrigues and it is a must. Mona Hatoum, National Gallery Of Modern Art (Venue 66) 624 6200, until 25 Oct, Mon-Sat IOam-Spm, Sun 2—5pm, £2.50 (£1.50).
Richard Prince Has the bad boy grown up? The US artist whose shock tactics more than tickle the American dream shows new work. Stills Gallery (Venue 94) 622 6200, until 26 Sep, Tue—Sat 10am-8pm; Sun—Mon noon—5pm.
Uta Kogelsberger Imaginary twitching of the net curtains takes place in Kogelsberger's high rise tower blocks while her nylon thread labyrinth really catches you out. St Mary’s School, Demarco European Art Foundation (Venue 22) 55 7 0707, until Sun 30 Aug, daily 10.30am—6pm.
The Virtual House Of Usher A big screen and big technology update the classic dark tale by Edgar Allen Poe to the late 20th century. In a commission from London's ICA, artist David Palser gives us gloom, doom and state-of-the-art digital imagery. Princes Street Gardens, Wed 19 8! Wed 26 Aug, 8pm.