Isaac Witkin

Baalbec

1968

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Artist
Isaac Witkin 1936–2006
Medium
Painted aluminium
Dimensions
Object: 2505 x 2629 x 1448 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Alistair McAlpine (later Lord McAlpine of West Green) 1970
Reference
T01395

Not on display

Catalogue entry

Isaac Witkin b. 1936

T01395 Baalbec 1968

Not inscribed.
Aluminium painted black, 98¿ x 103½ x 57 (250.5 x 262 x 145).
Presented by Alistair McAlpine 1971.
Exh: The Alistair McAlpine Gift, Tate Gallery, June–August, 1971 (60, repr. in colour).
Lit: Michael Compton, in catalogue of The Alistair McAlpine Gift, Tate Gallery, 1971, pp. 123–6.

The sculpture is in an edition of two.

‘Baalbec’ comprises 6 rectangular aluminium blocks of different size. They are painted black. Three stand upright on the floor and support two other blocks inclined at 45°; the sixth block rests horizontally on one of these.

The artist wrote (3 April 1972): ‘“Baalbec” replaces implied volume by backtracking into conventional language of gravity-bound solids. Volume is not discovered (or achieved) in the process. For this reason I regard it “a failure of nerve”. What I tried to achieve in this work was to construct volumes in space in such a way that they barely hung together and made a basic statement of vertical, horizontal and diagonal thrusts.’

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1970–1972, London 1972.