Rasheed Araeen

Drawing for Sculpture


Not on display

Rasheed Araeen born 1935
Graphite on paper
Support: 250 × 200 mm
Presented by Tate Members 2011


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.

Dating from 1965, this is one of Araeen’s earliest drawings. Closely related to another drawing from the same year (see Tate T13381), it is a study for Sculpture No 2 1965/1987. In both versions of this work, Araeen used steel girders to create a floor-based sculpture. Here they are arranged in four stacked layers. The sketch, drawn in graphite and red and green pencil, outlines four sections with different views of the sculpture against a red background. Two of them show the work from the side and are labeled ‘ELEVATION’, while two show overhead views and are labeled ‘PLAN’. Araeen has acknowledged the influence of sculptor Anthony Caro (born 1924) on his work, primarily because of the industrial materials he employed, which Araeen recalls ‘had the appearance of having been picked up from a discarded heap of demolished engineering works’ (quoted in Niru Ratman, Rasheed Araeen, Before and After Minimalism 1959–1974, exhibition leaflet, Aicon Gallery, London 2010, unpaginated).

Further reading
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.

Leyla Fakhr
November 2010

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