Art Unlimited Artist Spotlight: Robert Morris Untitled (Scatter Piece) at Art 43 Basel

Robert Morris Untitled (Scatter Piece), 1968. Leo Castelli Gallery and Spruth Magers

Robert Morris’ Scatter piece, a beautiful recreation situated in one of the corners near the entrance, was accidentally discarded after being shown in a retrospective at the Corcoran Gallery in 1969. Considering the particularity of each piece (using a system according to chance calculations), it must have been an arduous task for Morris to refashion each piece of custom-made copper, zinc, brass, steel, aluminum, lead, and once again scatter the pieces according to 9 drawings from the original exhibition.

As you determine your own (chance) pathway through the sculpture, you become aware of your chance relationship within space, and how the randomly but systematically generated “length, width, thickness, and number of bends” relate to earthly material and your corporeal body. Like treasure-hunters in a junkyard of excess material, you wonder about the placement as much as the purpose of these items. Even without the pretext of chance, you wonder why these items are so endlessly fascinating.