5 QUESTIONS TO CARL ANDRE

 

Dear Mr. Andre,

Thank you so much for your interest in the project “Personal Structures: Time – Space – Existence” and your willingness to answer 5 interview questions in written form.

Here are the questions:

 

TIME

#1: The only way we can “perceive” time is change. For the public, the most obvious change in an artistic career is success. I like what seems to me to be your honest and heartfelt statement about Konrad Fischer, that without him, your “life as an artist would have ended long ago.“ Today, your work is shown in all important museums all over the world and is part of art history. What impact has this change from an unknown, ambitious artist to a “classic” had on you artistically and personally?

SPACE

#2: A few weeks ago, I listened to a young artist from Vienna give a lecture with the interesting title: “All I don’t know about space”. As a sculptor, you worked with space for more than 4 decades. What are the most important things you have learned about space and what do you still not know about it?

EXISTENCE

#3: In the Author’s Statement of the publication “Cuts”, James Meyer writes on the “antihumanist thrust” of your work as well as your “anti-anthropocentric” practice (p. 17). One of his arguments is that your art exists in the room with us but does not exist for us. Do you agree with him? Is it possible at all that art is not for us? In an interview with Barbara Tuchman you said once “Man is the measure of all things” (Cuts, p.231). This is the classical statement of antique humanism (Protagoras). What are your thoughts about the relation of art and (anti-)humanism, art and (anti-)anthropocentrism?

#4: In 1979, you called your quest to develop an art “utterly free of human associations” “absurd”, but, at the same time, you claimed that it has been exactly the “absurd impossibility of that quest which made my work possible.” (Cuts, p. 291). It seems that contradictions and absurdity can be an extremely fruitful source for an artistic oeuvre. Absurdity is a keyword of existentialist philosophers: they talk about the absurdity of life, death, and existence as a fact we as human beings have to deal with. What are your thoughts concerning absurdity as an artistic as well as existential precondition?

#5: Another contradiction is that your work, on the one hand, is considered one of the most advanced positions in contemporary sculpture and, on the other hand, as you put it in 1982, it is “intensely conservative in that its form can be traced back to the earliest Neolithic structures” (Cuts, p. 174). You also claimed that the “earliest experiences” from your childhood “are the quarry of my art.” Is there any progress in art? Or is (good and relevant) art always just about the anthropological basics, about the earliest personal as well as generic experiences?

Thank you very much in advance for devoting your time and efforts to answer these questions. I greatly look forward to hearing what you have to say and also to meeting you at your opening in Düsseldorf.

 

My very best regards,

Peter Lodermeyer

 

 

(published in: Peter Lodermeyer, Karlyn De Jongh, Sarah Gold (ed.), Personal Structures: Time Space Existence, Cologne 2009, p. 226-229)

 

 
 
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