Isaac Witkin b. 1936
T01395 Baalbec 1968
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…