Delicate lines are seen in the work of Fred Sandback (1943–2003), whose minimalist sculptures outline planes and volumes in space by simply dissecting rooms with colored yarn. With discreetly affixed ends, the yarn appears to come from within a wall or floor, stretching from one surface to another, creating the illusion of glass-like planes outlined in color. Like other artists in the minimalist movement, Sandback wanted to eschew symbolic references and recognizable imagery and replace them with the here-and-now experience of moving through space. Sandback referred to his work as sculpture that “doesn’t take over space but rather coexists with it.” He used lines in space, created by common knitting yarn, to suggest volume. Describing the work, Sandback said that he made “discrete sculptural volumes for a sculpture which becomes less of a thing in itself, more of a diffuse interface between myself, my environment, and others peopling that environment, built of thin lines that left enough room to move through and around. Still sculpture, though less dense, with an ambivalence between exterior and interior. A drawing that is habitable.” All his “inhabitable drawings” originated as physical marks on paper in studies that he produced.
During his lifetime, Sandback collaborated multiple times with Lannan Foundation. In 1999 he participated in a residency, and the foundation exhibited work he created during his stay in Santa Fe. The exhibition at Lannan consisted of an installation created for the Foundation’s main gallery, with related drawings in the adjacent conference room and entrance way. In 2016 two of Sandback’s works—his imagined installations for German gallerist Heiner Friedrich in 1971 and a 1989 design for the Dia Art Foundation in New York—were included in Lannan’s (Infra) Structure exhibition.
Sandback was born in Bronxville, New York, in 1943. He attended Yale University as an undergraduate student of philosophy. He then transferred to the sculpture program at Yale’s School of Art and Architecture, where he received a BFA in 1966 and an MFA in 1969. Sandback’s work has been exhibited regularly in the United States and Europe. He died in New York in 2003.