Until 29.10. | #3621ARTatBerlin | Galerie Max Hetzler presents the exhibition Six Decades by artist Anthony Caro at Potsdamer Straße 77-87 from 15 September 2022.
Over the course of six decades, Anthony Caro became internationally known as the most important British sculptor of his generation. He held the view that it was the artist’s job to keep culture moving. This led to a constantly evolving body of work, in which the artist’s late work is as surprising and fresh as his early abstract sculptures.
After a successful early career in the 1950s, Caro abandoned his figurative approach, which he found limiting, and in the 1960s began creating abstract sculptures in welded or bolted, painted industrial steel. This was inspired by a life-changing trip to the US in 1959, where Caro met sculptor David Smith, as well as painters such as Kenneth Noland and Helen Frankenthaler, and other New York and West Coast artists. These innovative works by Caro were placed directly on the floor and eschewed the convention of presenting sculptures on pedestals. They confronted the viewer directly and created a one-to-one encounter between viewer and object, which in turn underpinned Caro’s argument that sculpture is about the feeling of the body in space.
The exhibition presents 19 sculptures that go hand in hand with relief paper sculptures and other figurative works on paper from the 1950s. These are followed chronologically by the early, very light, almost weightless, abstract sculptures in painted industrial steel from the 1960s and 1970s. Also on view are the heavier and more voluminous, enclosing steel works of the 1980s and 1990s, as well as late works that present less solid forms in space, but rather create visually accessible spaces. The large free-standing sculptures are complemented by so-called “Table Pieces”, which Caro created over the course of his career and parallel to the large works. The highlight of the exhibition is one of his last sculptures Terminus, 2013, from the Perspex series.
In the first decades of his abstract work, Caro used a studio in the small garage at the side of his house. This enclosed space determined the scale of his sculptures, as Caro used the entire surface of the room, working very close to – almost within – the structures, and could only step back and view the works from a distance when they were removed from the studio. Caro had to rely on his instinct and intelligence as an artist and interact closely with the metal. In addition to their bright colours, the works with their expressive titles conveyed a sense of joy that had been largely absent from the earlier modernist sculptures associated with the so-called “geometry of fear” in the 1950s. Works such as First National, 1964, There, 1966, London, 1966, and Larry’s Land, 1970, bear witness to this.
In his quest to advance sculpture, Caro sought new challenges, especially a different treatment of body and mass, articulating space in flat planes, as in Rondo, 1966-1976, or enclosing it in curved forms, as in Black Russian, 1984-1985. As well as being inspired by classical Greek sculpture, which he admired at the Parthenon, he was fascinated by the Renaissance painting of Giotto and Duccio, and by modern artists such as Cézanne and Picasso, Picasso’s work providing the inspiration for Emma That, 1977. Music was also an important influence, which is clearly reflected in sculptures such as Oratorio, 1991-1992 and Up A Note, 2008-2009.
Caro’s fascination with architectural references grew, leading in the 1980s and 1990s to works that literally enclose space. For the viewer who cannot enter them, they convey a sense of something enclosed, reversing the open, linear forms of Caro’s earlier polychrome works. These later sculptures resemble shrines that are closed in on themselves. The logical next step was to create closed spaces that could actually be entered. At this point, Caro’s interest in working on an even larger scale was piqued. His work from this period is still concerned with the body, but it is less about how it feels to occupy a body and more about how the body feels in relation to the sculptures, as seen in works such as Park Avenue Series: Morning Shadows, 2011- 2012.
The exhibition was curated by Paul Moorhouse, Managing Director of the Anthony Caro Centre London, who said: “In the 1960s, Anthony Caro redefined what sculpture is and, more importantly, can be. The exhibition at Galerie Max Hetzler shows that Caro remained a restless innovator throughout his six-decade career, continuing to explore the boundaries of sculpture even in his later work.
Anthony Caro (1924-2013) lived and worked in London. The artist’s work has been exhibited in recent years at institutions such as the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin; the National Trust Cliveden, Taplow (both 2019); the Van Buuren Museum, Brussels; the New Art Centre, Roche Court, Salisbury (both 2017); the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2016); Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield (2015 and 2012); and the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds (2015). Other solo presentations have taken place at major institutions worldwide, including the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (2012); The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2011); The National Portrait Gallery, London (2008); Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Valenica (2006); Tate Britain, London; Musée d’Orsay, Paris (both 2005); Seoul Museum of Art; Kunsthalle Würth, Schwäbisch Hall (both 2004); Fundacio Caixa Catalunya, Barcelona (2002); Museo de Bellas Artes, Bilbao (2001); 48. Venice Biennale (1999); The National Gallery, London (1998); French Institute Thessaloniki; National Gallery, Athens (both 1997); Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (1995); Mucsarnok Palace of Art, Budapest (1993); Tate Gallery, London (1991); Northern Centre for Contemporary Art, Sunderland (1987); Serpentine Gallery, London (1984); Tel Aviv Museum of Art (1977); The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; The Museum of Fine Arts Houston; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (all 1975); Hayward Gallery, London (1969); and Whitechapel Gallery, London (1963), to name a few.
Caros Werke sind weltweit in öffentlichen Sammlungen vertreten, darunter Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Cleveland Museum of Art; Dallas Museum of Art; Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Kunsthaus Zürich; Los Angeles County Museum of Arts; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum Ludwig, Köln; Museum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Tokio; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul; Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venedig; Royal Academy of Arts, London; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Tate, London; The British Council, London; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Vancouver Art Gallery; und Victoria and Albert Museum, London, um nur einige zu nennen.
Vernissage: Thursday, 15 September, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Exhibition dates: Thursday, 15 September – Saturday, 29 October 2022to the gallery
Caption: Günther Frög, Photos: Anthony Caro, Larry’s Land, 1970, steel, painted green, 170 x 600 x 305 cm; 66 7/8 x 236 1/4 x 120 1/8 in.
Exhibition Anthony Caro – Galerie Max Hetzler | Contemporary Art – Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin – Exhibitions Berlin Galerien – ART at Berlin