Exhibition in the Annemarie Verna Gallery, February 10 – March 25, 2000

In 1971, the Annemarie Verna Galerie was host to the first single-artist exhibition of the then 28-year-old American Fred Sandback.

Now the tenth such one-man-show is on view, fitted by the artist in the gallery spaces of Annemarie and Gianfranco Verna. This fitting is carried out in the literal sense of the word, as his exhibitions utilize the given interior space. Produced with lengths of colored woolen yarn, his sculptures are interventions that "coexist and cooperate” with the spaces at hand. Precisely this method of working – and the way his pieces take shape in connection to and defined by this method – warrants providing the artist with repeated opportunities, in our case over a period of thirty years, to stage his work in gallery spaces. Visitors to his exhibitions are given the chance to experience and – in a combination of repetition, change and permanence – to visualize the richness and intuitive fullness of this oeuvre, so sparing in its use of material.

In the case at hand, the observer plays an important role. Gallery visitors do not merely look at the works but rather inspect them. Their perception first opens up the work, then proceeds to construct it via physical and intellectual participation.

Nevertheless, in 1975 Fred Sandback emphasized: "My work isn’t environmental.” It is, therefore, by no means an installation in the sense invoked all too often these days. The sculptures exist even if they do not exist. They are defined through a form unique to each sculpture. The final shape and the particular dimensions and proportions are determined only by responding to and making use of conditions in the given space and its architectural form.

In 1966, Fred Sandback hit upon the material he would come to work with when he found as well as founded his sculpture "Line Construction,” consisting of an elastic string stretched within a space.

The limitations that would seemingly accompany such a handicap by no means led to an artistic reductionism. This would have been in utter opposition to the artist’s way of thinking and his intense interest in classical sculpture.

Over the years, the string evolved to become a guideline for the artist, against which the piece at hand had to be measured. The extensive graphic oeuvre, distinguished by an independent artistic intelligence, has been added to in the past few years by groups of works, in the form of reliefs in wood and more recently in other materials, that visit and explore the realm between sculpture with its spatial presence and illusionary depictions of space on paper.

Gianfranco Verna