Twenty-fifth Steel Cardinal
The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.
'Twenty-fifth Steel Cardinal' is an artwork which consists of 25 separate steel plates measuring 50 x 50 cm. They are placed on the floor of the museum gallery in the shape of a square with one side of the square against the wall. The steel plates have been left untreated and are not evenly coloured. Scratches, dents, marks and discoloration mean that the plates are all different.
The work radiates tranquillity and balance as a result of symmetry, repetition, the grey shades of the steel and the flatness of the work. Carl Andre explained: “I do not want to make works which overwhelm or blind you. I like work you can spend time with in a room and that you can ignore if you want to.” As the plates are half a centimetre thick, the artwork only takes up little space. Despite the fact that it is quite thin, the floor sculpture does have mass and weight because of the material that it used. According to Andre, the space around the artwork is just as important as the work itself. His sculptures appear to emphasise the empty space around them. He believes that his artworks suit some places better than others and therefore he believes that it is best for an artist to create a work of art in situ.
Carl Andre’s work belongs to the school of Minimal Art. In this movement the perception of the artwork has priority. However, Andre’s floor sculptures are not only about looking, but also about listening and feeling/experiencing. The visitor is permitted to walk on the floor sculpture. Walking over the steel plates changes the appearance of the work. Instead of just looking at it from a distance, there is also the tangible experience. Every type of material sounds and feels different when you walk over it. Andre used iron, steel, aluminium, lead, copper, and zinc, amongst other materials, because he believed that: “the difference between copper and aluminium goes a lot further than the difference between red and green.”
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