Angela Bulloch
Aluminium 4 2012

Artwork details

Artist
Angela Bulloch born 1966
Title
Aluminium 4
Date 2012
Medium 4 aluminium pixel boxes with DMX control box, lighting system, electrical components and cables
Dimensions Overall display dimensions variable
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased with assistance from Simon and Carine Lee and a private donor 2013
Reference
T13848

Summary

Angela Bulloch’s Aluminium 4 comprises four ‘pixel boxes’ placed on the floor in a single, regularly spaced line. The pixel box is a sculptural unit which brings together the minimalist cube with a programmable light system capable of producing over sixteen million colour permutations. A little behind and to the right of these boxes sits a slightly smaller control box, which is connected to the other components by black electrical cabling. The colours of the boxes shift and mutate according to an algorithmic programme written by Bulloch. Since her Prototypes exhibition in 2000 at Galerie Eva Presenhuber in Zurich, Bulloch has been making increasingly ambitious sculptural installations using pixel boxes.

Whether shown individually, in groups, or presented in grid form, Bulloch’s pixel boxes make a formal reference to minimalism. Aluminium 4 is one of a number of works made using copper or aluminium – in each case the material of the title is that which provides the casing – that, through an additional material dimension, extend the relationship to the minimalist sculptures of American artists Donald Judd (1928–1994), Dan Flavin (1933–1996) and Carl Andre (born 1935). Bulloch’s use of aluminium in this work makes reference to works such as Judd’s one hundred untitled works in aluminium in the Chinati Foundation’s permanent collection in Texas, or to other aluminium works by Judd such as his stack sculpture Untitled 1980 (Tate T03087). Aluminium 4 is closely related to another of Bulloch’s pixel box works, Copper 4 2010, which differs only in the material used for the boxes and the control programme that operates them.

Since the early 1990s Bulloch has been making immaculately fabricated installations which include elements that that can be activated by the viewer or that are modified by the passing of time. The human presence is often crucial to the way in which her work functions. Bulloch uses technology as a tool and subject matter, and she draws on its possibilities to explore how systems influence human preferences and exert control over human behaviour or potential for action. Arrangements of four components are a recurring aspect within Bulloch’s work, both in pixel box works such as this one and in other works like West Ham: Sculpture for Football Songs 1998 (Tate T12307), which features four Belisha beacons.

Further reading
Helmut Draxler, Branden W. Joseph and Juliane Rebentisch, Prime Numbers: Angela Bulloch, Cologne 2006.

Helen Delaney
October 2011

About this artwork