I am certainly no kind of Conceptual artist because the physical existence of my work cannot be separated from the idea of it. That’s why I said I [have] no art ideas; I only have art desires. To speak of ideas as conceptions in a philosophical sense and then to think of ideas for art - well, that is to speak about two utterly different things. I think what we really mean to do is to apply ourselves to the language we use in the most rigorous sense. As Confucius said, when he was asked what he would do if he were made the prime minister of the duchy where he lived, “The first thing I would do is call things by their right names.” This is why I wish to separate myself entirely from any Conceptual art or even with ideas in art. My art springs from my desire to have things in the world that would otherwise never be there. By nature, I am a materialist, an admirer of Lucretius. It is exactly these impingements upon our sense of touch and so forth that I’m interested in. The sense of one’s own being in the world confirmed by the existence of things and others in the world. This, to me, is far beyond being as an idea. This is a recognition, a state of being, a state of consciousness – and I don’t wish at all to be portrayed a mystic in that. I don’t think that that’s mystical at all. I think it’s a true awareness that doesn’t have anything to do with mysticism or religion. It has to do with life as opposed to death and a feeling of the true existence of the world in oneself. This is not an idea. An idea is a much lower category on my scale in that awareness, that consciousness.”
Tuchman, ‘An Interview with Carl Andre’, cited in CUTS Carl Andre Texts 1959 – 2004 (Cambridge (MA) USA: MIT Press, 2005), p 8
Carl Andre lives and works in New York. For his third show at Sadie Coles HQ, he will be making new graphite works.