Robert Morris 1931

The first conceptual art work?

Card File” 1962, seen in the Pompidou Centre recently.
American artist from Kansas City, prominent theorist of minimalism.

Card File’, because of the way it uses language, and its self- referential character, was one of the first manifestations of conceptual art. In a card files drawer that is set up vertically, like a tableau, 48 file cards, arranged in alphabetical order, describe the process that went into creating the work. On them, Morris gives a narrative of the events that were tied in with the process, from conception to creation, categorising them as follows: “Accidents”, “Decisions”, “Errors”, “Stores”, etc. The “Future” category is left waiting. Morris wrote the following about this piece: “The rationalist notion that art is an activity which results in a finished product is up for debate, […] since what art has at its disposal is a product that is forever evolving.” The work can no longer be manipulated by the public. The photographs presented here, show some of the card files.’

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