Sandback, Fred

Known for sculptures that outline planes and volumes in space, American artist Fred Sandback’s (1943–2003) work is informed by a minimalist artistic vocabulary. Though he employed metal wire and rod, and elastic cord in his earliest works, the artist soon dispensed with mass and weight by using acrylic yarn to create sculptures that produced perceptual illusions while addressing their physical surroundings, the “pedestrian space,” as Sandback called it, of everyday life. Throughout the course of his career, yarn would enable the artist to elaborate on the phenomenological experience of space and volumes with unwavering consistency and ingenuity. This catalogue examines the broad scope of formal invention that the artist achieved with this restricted idiom.

Sandback’s sculptural compositions are comprised of lengths of either metal or yarn stretched horizontally, vertically, or diagonally in a variety of configurations that include rectangles, triangles, U-shapes, and floor-to-ceiling vertical lines. In addition to a selection of drawings by the artist, the works documented in this publication range from smaller-scale, metal works made while Sandback was still a student at Yale to later constructions that encompass entire rooms, thus demonstrating how the artist was able to create this signature vocabulary of forms in different combinations and scales.