Stadhouderslaan, Den Haag
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What you see is what it is. Nothing more and nothing less. The American sculptor Donald Judd created sculptures that do not tolerate interpretation or have symbolic meaning. So his untitled object in the garden of Kunstmuseum Den Haag, dating from 1982, is simply an elongated box of Corten steel with an open front and back, rust brown in colour.
Judd's sculptures fall under the heading of 'Minimal Art', because of the extremely simple, geometric basic forms he used. Judd used these minimal means to achieve a higher goal: he wanted absolute clarity, a complete autonomy for his art. Any illusion had to be avoided and the expression of feeling was taboo.
Starting out as a painter of abstract expressionist work, these ideas on art led irrevocably to a break in his oeuvre in the early sixties. A matte black grainy painted plate of hardboard with a small aluminium baking tin in the middle from 1961 marks this break. At that time, the step to sculpture was only a small one.
After 1964, Judd's career as a sculptor took off. He took the cube as his basic shape and started making boxes in all sorts of variations and from materials such as: steel, copper, Plexiglas, plywood. Is that boring? No, with his boxes Judd proved how overwhelming the beauty of simplicity can be. There is also a link with architecture. A box is a space, in which - if it is big enough - you can stand or walk through. Judd's The Hague sculpture from 1982 is such a box. But there is something unusual about it. In the box are two plates, one close to the outer wall, the other about a metre away. Because the outer walls are not exactly level with the edge of the floor, the plates inside the box appear to be slightly tilted. Judd has mastered the game with space down to his fingertips.