In celebration of the reopening of Tate Britain, Tate Etc. invited a selection of artists from around the world to choose a favoured work from a fellow artist currently on display. Here, Jac Leirner looks at Anthony Caro’s Early One Morning 1962

  • Sir Anthony Caro, 'Early One Morning' 1962

    Sir Anthony Caro
    Early One Morning 1962
    Painted steel and aluminium
    object: 2896 x 6198 x 3353 mm
    Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1965 Anthony Caro/Barford Sculptures Ltd

    View the main page for this artwork

Anything goes. If Anthony Caro wasn’t there, things would still be there: colour, light, shadow, shapes, weights, directions. But he was. And his choices and thought were made present in the same proportion as colour, construction and the spaces in-between. It’s clear to me that whatever choice he made would lead to perfection. This is what this work is about: decisions are made even though the power is there (in the world and in the materials) anyway, just waiting for the move, for the tone and the heat. Anything could be done. And anything means infinite possibilities. Facing this fact, to make a decision takes hundreds of discarded solutions, and this is a lot of thinking, of experimenting.

I can see the mind of the artist going from the fatality of presence to the idea of representation, from support and structure to detail, from symbol to fact. And finding the history of art, the one made in the past, and that art is at the corner, right there, really fresh. But ‘early one morning’, these words, they mean a couple of hours! Let’s say, from 6.00 to 8.00? So am I wrong to say a lot of history is there? Time is there, references and all the choices that were made. Do we have here a simple reflection of the sun over a landscape with its horizon and vertical obstacles coming in pairs? Is that a scene? Or is it technique, labour, thought? The determination of rhythm and quantity, as well as the difference between weights and measurements, a unique place where (specific) things relate? Is it a place made so that the sight gets lost?

Jac Leirner (born 1961) lives in lives in São Paulo. Her work Blue Phase 1991 was lent by the American Fund for the Tate Gallery, courtesy of the Latin American Acquisitions Committee, in 2010.