This stack behind me is a relatively late example of Judd working with the form of the stack. It was made in 1990, four years before his death, it’s a very refined example of the stack form, in the sense that he’s taken anodised aluminium which shimmers in the light, the Plexiglas tops and bottoms of each element of the stack are clear Plexiglas, so the light passes through and the light picks up, whether it’s artificial light as here, or daylight, picks up obviously the blue from the anodised aluminium and pulls it around inside the space inside the interior volume of the boxes. Judd was always very interested to explore the interior forms of his boxes, whether it was in the stacks in this case by having plexi tops and plexi bottoms, or obviously the interior of the cube, or indeed in many of the plywood pieces.
From the early ‘60s onwards Judd was keen to expunge from his work all direct references to the human body, even in an abstracted way, so these are not sculptures that stand for the human presence as such. However, when you go into a room in which one of these objects is placed, you feel this very intense sense of pressure on your own body, and you feel a very intense sense of your own self in relation to this object. These are objects which go up the wall, along the wall occupy the space in the centre of a room, and when you enter those spaces you are made intensely conscious of your own height, because many of the pieces are installed at eye level, so you can just see the top surface but not more. So the whole sense of your own body in relation to these works is a very important part of the experience and it’s one of the reasons why Judd himself was so interested in installing his own work in particular spaces, whether it was in his studio and house in New York, or eventually in this huge complex of buildings which he developed in Marfa in Texas.
I think it was remarkable how quickly Judd developed a repertoire of forms, whether it was the progression along the wall, the stack or the box, and it was these forms that he used during the following three decades of his life, and I think that during the 1970s and even into the early 80s, there was sometimes a sense when one saw his work in exhibitions of him repeating himself, and I think that there was a perceived sense of well Donald Judd does boxes. I think by the mid-80s when he began to explore colour and had an opportunity working in Marfa to really refine the way in which he was dealing with light, you began to sense that he was not simply on a roll but suddenly there was this explosion and I think it was that which certainly made me appreciate Judd as being one of the most, not just profound, but ultimately influential figures of the second half of the twentieth-century in sculpture.