Description: B. 1953
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32 X 33 X 35 = 34 X 33 X 35
outside: 32 x 33 x 35 in. 81.3 x 83.8 x 88.9 cm.
inside: 34 x 33 x 35 in. 86.4 x 83.8 x 88.9 cm.
Executed in 1989.
Burnett Miller Gallery, Los Angeles
Sotheby's, New York, November 15, 1995, lot 40
Marc Jancou, Paris
Galerie Marie-Louise Wirth, Zurich
Acquired by the present owner from the above in 2000
Pittsburgh, The Mattress Factory, 1989
Newport Beach, Newport Harbor Art Museum, Charles Ray, July - September 1990, p. 19, illustrated in color
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art; Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art; Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Charles Ray, June 1998 - September 1999, cat. no. 17, illustrated in color
London, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Artists' Favourites, July - September 2004
Charles Ray's world is one filled with illusionism and displacement, fostering an aura of anxiety or doubt. The viewer is consistently challenged to determine if one's eye is observing a reality or falling prey to a sleight of hand or a subversion of the physical world.
Prior to creating 32 x 33 x 35 = 34 x 33 x 35, Ray created Ink Box in 1986. With this sculpture, Ray filled a hollow floor cube up to the brim with black ink. The top of the sculpture is therefore liquid, but its highly reflective sheen conveys the impression of a slick, possibly solid surface. One is enticed to touch the work to ascertain if it is liquid or solid, but if one crossed that line would one be marked with ink stain.
Like Ink Box, 32 x 33 x 35 = 34 x 33 x 35 is reminiscent of a minimal floor sculpture by Donald Judd. It consists of an open aluminum box which seems to be sitting on the floor. On closer inspection, the bottom of the cube is sunk into the floor, accounting for the disparity in height of the outer and inner measurements. Ray has tricked the viewer again, leaving us once more in an uneasy state where we are wary of our assumed perceptions. If our eyes can be so subtly deceived by such an apparently literal object, we become haunted by a concern of what else may be askew in our perceived world.