The flat metal plates of 29 Prime Rectile fundamentally challenge the meaning of sculpture which traditionally revolved around concepts of ‘form’ and ‘structure’. Andre’s new artistic expression fell perfectly in line with the Minimalist movement. Focused on rejecting the illusionism inherent to painting, Minimalism aimed to displace the importance given to the art object and democratise the enjoyment of art. In this way, André literally removes the plinth on which sculpture had previously stood and replaces it with something that is neither modelled, carved nor constructed and daringly encourages interaction. The simplification of technique, free from the intuitive and emotionally-charged decision making of Abstract Expressionism, was essential to this new Minimalist art for Andre and his contemporaries like Sol LeWitt, Dan Flavin and Donald Judd. The artist eulogised: “what the idea of 'minimal art' means to me is that the person has drained and rid himself of the burden, the cultural over-burden that stands shadowing and eclipsing art. I think art is quite apart from that and you have to really rid yourself of those securities and certainties and assumptions and get down to something, which is closer and resembles some kind of blankness. Then one must construct again out of this reduced circumstance” (Carl Andre cited in: Alistair Rider, Ed., Carl Andre: Things in Their Elements, London 2011, p. 249). As evidenced in 29 Prime Rectile, André elevates the assemblage of units, elegantly uniform and streamlined, to a new plane of understanding that changed the course of art history.
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