Anthony Hill

Relief Construction


On display at Tate Britain

Aluminium and plastic on hardboard
Object: 1105 x 914 x 48 mm
Purchased 1963

Display caption

Hill was among the youngest of a group who, in the early 1950s, had revived an idealist abstract art. This is one of a series of reliefs in which the elements were planned using a precise mathematical formula and a module as the basic determining unit of proportion. New mass-produced materials, such as plastic and aluminium angle sections, create a sense of illusionist space through precision of design. Hill commented: ‘Synthetic materials and other materials like glass and metal in their machine states gives the abstract artist a new and important group of media and it is with these materials that “Constructionist” conceptions can be realized and developed.

Gallery label, September 2016

Catalogue entry

Inscr. ‘Anthony Hill 1960’ on back of hardboard.
Rigid vinyl laminate (RVL) and aluminium angle sections bolted to a hardboard base and wooden frame, 43 1/2×36×1 7/8 (110·75×91·5×4·75).
Purchased from the I.C.A. (Grant-in-Aid) 1963.
Exh: Anthony Hill, Gillian Wise, I.C.A., February–March 1963 (7).

In this work, one of a series of constructions begun in 1960, the artist has planned the elements of the construction in accordance with the precise dictates of a mathematical formula, using a module as the basic determining unit of proportion. The artist has used modern industrial materials such as plastic and mass-produced aluminium angle sections to enable him to obtain greater precision of design and to demonstrate that these materials can be combined to form aesthetically satisfying works of art.

The artist has suggested that his constructions can best be described in mathematical terminology, thus ‘the theme involves a module, partition and a progression’ which ‘accounts for the disposition of the five white areas and permuted positioning of the groups of angle sections’. (Letter of 24 March 1963.)

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I