Geoffrey Clarke b. 1924
T00736 Block with Eight Pieces 1964
Inscr. ‘I.C. 64.5.’
Aluminium, 20 x 24¼ x 35 (51 x 61.5 x 89); each piece is inscribed ‘C’ and numbered with dots; seven fit into slots in the main block but are movable, and one lies on the surface.
Purchased from the artist (Grant-in-Aid) 1965.
Exh: C.A.S., British Sculpture in the Sixties, Tate Gallery, February–April 1965 (26).
Lit: J. P. Hodin, Introduction to the Redfern Gallery Exhibition, Geoffrey Clarke, March 1965.
Three other variations on the theme of the table with objects on it were Nos. 22, 23 and 24 (repr.) in the artist’s exhibition at the Redfern Gallery, 1965. Hodin (loc. cit.) describes the evolution of the theme as follows: ‘In the formation of these symbols Geoffrey Clarke has been inspired by Klee, by ideograms, by the sculptures of Picasso, by the art of primitive peoples. Some Chinese vessels of the Bronze age made a deep impression on him, some Egyptian forms such as the form of the old Egyptian bed, etc., in the British Museum. Of Japanese art Geoffrey Clarke admires the way their houses are laid out with the gardens to form a unity. His image of the table, has, for instance, its origin from a carved stone from Egypt, whereon the meaning of the hieroglyphics had a mere visual not a literary significance to him. The table is in his eyes the landscape (platform with legs) with objects on the landscape the moon or the sun, a catastrophy: monolith (figures) some standing, or collapsed, some broken, represented by bars or blocks or slabs in various sizes.’ The artist himself wrote (letter, 20 August 1965) that No. T00736 was cast by the new method of vaporising expanded polystyrene: ‘Initial conception of the tables was an accident. I was using a block of my “moulding” material (expanded polystyrene) as a table. A certain view of it one day, with a scatter of pieces on it, caught my eye. When close to a “table” and on eye level it becomes a landscape—this coincides with previous work... Another point about the table (or tables) is that the blocks are infinitely changeable (although as artist I make a positive position of them to begin with) positive negative (slots) etc. I should like to make areas the size of football pitches into “table” tops!’
Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1964–1965, London 1966.