Robert Morris

Untitled 1967-8

1967–8

Medium
Fibreglass and nylon threads
Dimensions
Object: 457 x 2438 x 2438 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1970
Reference
T01185

Display caption

Hovering within the viewer's line of sight, this work acts as a marker within the perceptual field against which viewers can measure themselves. As Morris wrote, 'In the perception of relative size the human body enters into the total continuum of sizes and establishes itself as a constant on that scale'. One of Morris's few hanging sculptures, Untitled was made of fibreglass using an industrial moulding process.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

Robert Morris born 1931

T01185 Untitled 1967-8

Not inscribed
Translucent fibreglass suspended from nylon threads, 18 x 96 x 96 (45.5 x 244 x 244)
Purchased from the artist through the Sonnabend Gallery, New York (Grant-in-Aid) 1970
Exh: Robert Morris, Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, February-March 1968 (5, diagrammatic drawing repr.); Robert Morris, Tate Gallery, May-June 1971 (shown in revised version of the exhibition, repr. but not listed)
Repr: Arts, XL, May 1968, p.31; Ronald Alley, Recent American Art (London 1969), pl.33

The artist said that this was not the first of his sculptures in which fibreglass was used to enclose a space with no top or bottom. The precedent was '9 Fibreglass Sleeves' 1967, a piece with straight sides which stands on the floor. There is also an earlier hanging sculpture 'Cloud' 1962 (painted wood, repr. in the catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Morris exhibition). Although his many sculptures intended to stand on the floor had been greatly concerned with the direct relationship with the ground, their simple, flat juncture with it had also sometimes suggested the sensation of floating. One of the qualities of this work which particularly attracts Morris is its strangeness.

T01185 was intended, by contrast with 'Cloud' and other works, to be strong without having sharp corners, rough through the untransformed substance of the material used, and coloured without being painted. The aim was to produce an object having the maximum strength for the material employed. Thus to a large degree the form was dictated by the process of fabrication. This involved making a 'male' object around which fibreglass was moulded before the male element was destroyed. However, in that the sculpture is curved in section, roughly square in plan and capsular in elevation, the artist sees it also as implying the large number of permutations which a series of works might embody, between standard geometrical figures and these three diagrammatic aspects of a simple object.

The only work by Morris in which compound curves are employed, T01185 is also the only hanging sculpture he has completed in fibreglass. It is a unique piece and has not been cast in an edition.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.543-4, reproduced p.543

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