Tate Britain Level 2
26 January – 17 April 2005
Sir Anthony Caro (born 1924) is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest living sculptors.
In January 2005 Tate Britain will mount a major retrospective exhibition surveying fifty years of his work including the seminal steel sculptures, which established Caro’s reputation in the early 1960s, as well as major recent works revealing fresh lines of innovation and development are apparent. The exhibition will occupy the Level 2 Exhibition Galleries and the central Duveen galleries.
Anthony Caro first achieved widespread recognition in the early 1960s. He abandoned his earlier, figurative way of working which involved modelling in clay and casting in bronze and began to make purely abstract works: sculpture constructed and welded in steel, comprising beams, girders and other found elements painted in bright colours. These works heralded a revolution in sculpture. Within a short period, conventional ideas about materials, method, surface, scale, form and space were overturned by his radical reworking of all these elements. Foremost among such developments was Caro’s insistence on the immediate, physical presence of the sculpture – placed directly on the ground, in the viewer’s own space – a principle which became widely imitated, subsequently becoming a touchstone for contemporary sculpture.
Caro is known principally for his abstract sculpture in steel but his oeuvre also encompasses a wide range of other methods and materials, exemplified by more recent works in bronze, ceramic, wood and paper. Since the mid-1980s, his range of concerns and sources of inspiration have broadened significantly. A vital aspect of this has been his ongoing investigation of the dialogue between sculpture and architectural forms, notably in his ‘sculpitecture’ (sculpture that the viewer enters and explores internally) and in large-scale works that allude to the language of classical architecture. At the same time such developments have been accompanied by a more specific engagement with the art of the past. In his so-called ‘source’ sculpture a primary consideration has been forging a response to earlier works of art by such masters as Rubens, Manet and Matisse.
The exhibition will survey all these major developments and will include fifty works drawn from public and private collections across the world. The best-known works of Caro’s career are included, among them Tate’s Early One Morning 1962; Prairie 1967 and Orangerie 1969 from private collections in the US; Emma Dipper 1977 and Night Movements 1991 also from the Tate Collection; and The Last Judgement 1996-9, his powerful installation first shown at the Venice Biennale in 1999, and now in the Collection Würth, Künzelsau, Germany. Millbank Steps 2004, a major new work, has been made especially for the exhibition. In complementing his key works in steel with outstanding examples of his activity in other materials, the exhibition will propose a wider and more comprehensive assessment of the work of this pre-eminent artist than has previously been presented.
The exhibition is curated by Paul Moorhouse, Tate Collection Curator, and a fully illustrated catalogue will be published to accompany the exhibition (176pp, £29.99).