This is one of a group of eight drawings in Tate’s collection with the same title, Drawing for Sculpture, which date from the 1960s and early 1970s. Each one is drawn on a sheet of squared paper. Some of the sheets are headed ‘CALCULATION SHEET’ and bear the imprint of the company ‘British Hydrocarbon Chemicals Ltd’, which later merged with BP. Araeen produced most of these drawings while he was working as a civil engineering assistant in London. Ranging from precisely drawn preparatory sketches for sculptures to more immediate free-hand line drawings accompanied by the artist’s notes, the drawings collectively provide an insight into Araeen’s working processes, informed by his early training as a civil engineer. For economic reasons many of Araeen’s early proposals were never realised as finished sculptures. These eight drawings were shown in Rasheed Araeen, Before and After Minimalism 1959–1974 at Aicon Gallery, London in 2010.
Drawing for Sculpture 1968 is executed in black ink on graph paper. It presents three views of a geometric sculpture, below which the artist has written notes describing the work. This drawing is most likely an early preliminary sketch for the sculpture Lovers 1968 (Tate T13389). At the top of the sheet, two open-sided cubes are carefully drawn adjoining each other, each resting on one of their sharp corners. Below these cubes, which appear to have been drawn using a ruler, are two free-hand reinterpretations of the cubes above, in which their forms are extended into less regular prisms. In the note at the bottom of the drawing, Araeen expresses thoughts on the composition and the dynamics between the two cubes. This type of open cube structure was a regular motif in the artist’s sculptural work of the period.
From Modernism to Postmodernism, Rasheed Araeen, A Retrospective: 1959–1987, exhibition catalogue, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham 1987.
Rasheed Araeen, exhibition catalogue, South London Gallery, London 1994.
Rasheed Araeen, Before and After Minimalism 1959–1974, exhibition catalogue, Aicon Gallery, London 2010.
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