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 the company ‘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.
Drawing for Sculpture 1972 is executed in black ink, graphite and red pencil and explores a particular colour configuration for a possible lattice structure. In its two-dimensionality, it relates to a drawing from 1970 (Tate T13386), which presents a hexagonal shape of intersecting diagonal lines. Araeen often employed colour in his three-dimensional lattice structures in order to add complexity to the relationships of form and shape. Works such as Rang Baranga 1969 (Tate T12409) or 3Y+3B 1969 (Tate T12408) are typical examples in which the combination of colour and shape creates a dense network of lines that give the illusion of spiral forms.
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.