This is one of a group of eight drawings in Tate’s collection with the same title, Drawing for Sculpture, which date from the 1960s and early 1970s. Each one is drawn on a sheet of squared paper. Some of the sheets are headed ‘CALCULATION SHEET’ and bear the imprint of British Hydrocarbon Chemicals Ltd, which later merged with BP. Araeen produced most of these drawings while he was working as a civil engineering assistant in London. Ranging from precisely drawn preparatory sketches for sculptures to more immediate free–hand line drawings accompanied by the artist’s notes, the drawings collectively provide an insight into Araeen’s working processes, informed by his early training as a civil engineer. For economic reasons many of Araeen’s early proposals were never realised as finished sculptures. These eight drawings were shown in Rasheed Araeen, Before and After Minimalism 1959–1974 at Aicon Gallery, London in 2010.
Dating from 1965, this is one of Araeen’s earliest drawings from this group. It shows four steel girders drawn in graphite pencil with red and green pencil on pale blue squared paper. The illustration is framed in a red rectangle at the top of the sheet and signed in the bottom right–hand corner of this rectangle. This drawing is a study for Sculpture No 1 1965, a sculpture consisting of four painted steel girders placed parallel to each other on the floor. Araeen has acknowledged the influence of sculptor Anthony Caro (born 1924) on his work, primarily because of the industrial materials he employed, which Araeen recalls ‘had the appearance of having been picked up from a discarded heap of demolished engineering works’ (quoted in Niru Ratman, Rasheed Araeen, Before and After Minimalism 1959–1974, exhibition leaflet, Aicon Gallery, London 2010, unpaginated).
From Modernism to Postmodernism, Rasheed Araeen, A Retrospective: 1959–1987, exhibition catalogue, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham 1987.
Rasheed Araeen, exhibition catalogue, South London Gallery, London 1994.
Rasheed Araeen, Before and After Minimalism 1959–1974, exhibition catalogue, Aicon Gallery, London 2010.