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Untitled (Corner Piece), Fred Sandback: gray elastic cord 45.7 x 172.4 x 45.7cm, originally constructed 1967, image via Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris

Last month, when I was in Paris for Une Valse Lente @ Abstract Project, a most memorable experience at Marian Goodman Gallery happened with Jacek Przybyszewski via the reinterpreted, unparalleled work of Fred Sandback. Elastic cord and acrylic yarn made “room-filling volumetric forms using the most minimal of means. By stretching single strands of yarn point-to-point to create geometric figures, Sandback’s near intangible objects nevertheless amounted to precise and subtle delineations of pictorial planes and architectural volumes.”1

Le Fil d’Occam, the exhibition’s title, comes from an idea by the 14th century logician, William of Ockham, who reckoned the best solution to almost any problem is usually the simplest. Well, these objects of simplicity brought tears to my eyes but apparently this unexpected reaction is not an isolated one. Andrea Fraser delves into understanding why constructions designed by Sandback and presented in gallery spaces have such an effect on the mind/ psyche in her article from 2005, Why Does Fred Sandback’s Work Make Me Cry.2 “It is a place of affective possibility created by work that doesn’t ask me to feel, and so, I think, allows me to feel, and to be alone, in the presence of this art that’s so quiet and still, and makes too little in the way of demands. It is an art of objects without shadows.”


The after-effects of exposure to contemplative purity seem to be long-lasting: not only as spontaneous recollections but, above all, as a constant catalyst for perceptual refinement.

Untitled, Fred Sandback: one 32”/81.28cm black elastic cord 279.4 x 335.3 x 96.5 cm, originally constructed in 1967, image by Jacek Przybyszewski



Fred Sandback: Le Fil d’Occam

8 September – 27 October 2018

Marian Goodman Gallery

79 rue du Temple

75003 Paris




2 grâce à Jacek