Almost immediately Judd began to make sculpture, he found himself in a position where he wanted to make very precise forms, and as soon as he could afford to, he found himself wanting to make them out of metal rather than wood, because of the precision and because of the fact that the material itself was the object, it was itself, and he found a manufacturer with whom he eventually worked for the rest of his life, and most of the pieces therefore are made by others according to Judd’s instructions. Somehow that’s always regarded as a sin on the part of an artist, but in practice of course it gave Judd absolute control over what he was doing and he could concentrate on those things that were essential to him, the kind of materials that he was using, the colours that he was deploying, the combinations that he was exploring and left the actual manufacture to others.
These four floor boxes in anodised aluminium and Plexiglas were made for an exhibition which Judd put together for Baden Baden in Germany in 1989. They are four out of twelve, they’re not a series, as such, they are a group of ideas that Judd was working with, and he selected twelve that seemed to him to explore most fully some of the possibilities inherent in the form. The form is very simple, it’s the box that we’ve seen before, but in this case divided, with interior dividers which come halfway and then a third of the way across the piece, dividing it into two or into four, some of the dividers come halfway up from the floor of the box, some begin at the top and work down, some of the boxes have colour within, either anodised aluminium on the plates themselves, the dividers, or on the floor of the box, and what you have here is reflection, suffused colour, a feeling of knowing exactly what’s happening, but also when you look into it, discovering that all kinds of effects, that you could not possibly have predicted are occurring.
These four elements relate to a work which Judd made for two buildings, out on an army base in Marfa, in Texas where he lived from the mid-70s and there he installed one hundred of these boxes, without colour, entirely in milled aluminium, divided vertically, diagonally, sometimes horizontally. All boxes exactly the same size, each with different dividers, and therefore each reflecting light in a completely different way. If this is Minimalism it’s a very very rich form of reduced experience.