Isaac Witkin



Not on display

Isaac Witkin 1936–2006
Painted aluminium
Object: 2505 × 2629 × 1448 mm
Presented by Alistair McAlpine (later Lord McAlpine of West Green) 1970

Catalogue entry

Isaac Witkin b. 1936

T01395 Baalbec 1968

Not inscribed.
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.’

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1970–1972, London 1972.

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