Robert AdamsSpace Construction with a Spiral 1950

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Artwork details

Robert Adams (1917‑1984)
Space Construction with a Spiral
Date 1950
MediumSteel wire and wood
Dimensionsobject: 940 x 420 x 410 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1995


Space Construction with a Spiral was probably made in Hardingstone, near Northampton, where Adams lived, or at the Central School of Art, London, where he taught from 1949 until 1961. It was exhibited at Gimpel Fils, London, in July 1951, and reproduced in Toni del Renzio’s article ‘First Principles and Last Hopes’ published in Typographica. In that article it was positioned adjacent to a photograph of Eduardo Paolozzi’s open-frame construction Fountain, which had been commissioned for the South Bank site of the Festival of Britain.

In Nine Abstract Artists: Their Work and Theory, published in 1954, Lawrence Alloway suggested that Robert Adams’s conversion from naturalism to pure abstraction had been slow. He argued that the process had only reached completion after 1949 when the ‘physical identity of his materials asserted their autonomy and abolished the last head and the last torso’ (Alloway, p.3). In fact, clear figurative references continued in much of his work through to the early to mid 1950s. Nonetheless, 1948, a year in which Adams made several visits to Paris, was particularly important in his development as an abstract artist… (read more)

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