Kukje Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new and recent works by Anthony Caro. This will be the artist’s third solo exhibition at the gallery, featuring works from 1999 to the present. The current exhibition also marks the 50th anniversary of the artist’s first exhibition of his steel sculptures. Having received praise early in his career from influential Modernist critics such as Clement Greenberg and Michael Fried, who were both impressed by Caro’s pure, aesthetic development, he continues to establish an illustrious career that spans over 50 years.
Caro is best known for creating an engaging yet contemplative viewing experience by actively drawing in space and installing his sculptures in a way that they become unified with and translated into the surrounding architecture. Caro constantly explored the visual potential of sculptural forms through the use of non-traditional industrial materials and unconventional installations; he eliminated the traditional use of pedestals and experimented with various installation methods to rid the boundary between the form and its surrounding architecture. Such exploration of forms and material in relation to space established Caro as a revolutionary and a sensational figure in the art world.
As Caro’s third exhibition with the gallery, following one from 1994 and another in 1998, the present exhibition features Caro’s large-scale metal sculptures that use industrial materials as well as stones. Also included in the exhibition are his tablepiece series and recent relief series from 2010. The six relief works, which hang on the wall as opposed to sit on the floor (tableau), feature a lighter, almost faded color palette and playful linear elements. The series shows the artist’s turn towards a more lyrical direction.
About the Artist
Anthony Caro (b.1924), who still lives and works in London, was born in New Malden, England and grew up in Surrey. Caro first began to study sculpture at the age of 16, and despite his parent’s wishes for him to pursue finance, Caro went on to receive a degree in engineering at the Charterhouse School and Christ’s College, Cambridge in 1944. After serving two years at the Royal Navy as an engineer, Caro went to pursue his earlier interests in sculpture at the Royal Academy of Art from 1947 until 1952. There he met the quintessential Modernist sculptor, Henry Moore, and worked as an assistant for the sculptor. This experience undoubtedly informed Caro about scale of sculptural works.
In 1958, Caro incidentally met Clement Greenberg at a party, which prompted him to study abroad in the U.S. During his residency, he met David Smith, whose metal works must have left an impression on Caro, as he began using found industrial materials such as I-beams, welded metal and mesh lining. In 1960, Caro also encountered other key figures such as the critic Michael Fried, and representative Abstract Expressionist painters such as Kenneth Noland, Robert Motherwell, and Larry Poons, which further enriched and informed his works.
In addition to his own studio practice, Caro contributed his knowledge through teaching emerging sculptors. He began teaching at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London from 1953 to 1979 and lectured at Bennington College from 1963 to 1965. With fellow professor, Robert Loder, Caro created a democratic class format, known as “The Triangle Workshop” to encourage students to constantly strive for formal and conceptual innovation. Through his active teaching and careful tutelage, Caro inspired a generation of new artists such as Richard Deacon, Gilbert & George, and Richard Long.
From the beginning of his career, Caro immediately stood out from the rest of his contemporaries as having avoided the conflict between Modernism and Minimalism. The artist achieved international acclaim with his first solo show at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1963, which presented 15 large metal works. He then had his first solo exhibition in New York at the André Emmerich Gallery and continued to stay with the gallery for 30 years. In addition, Caro has exhibited at numerous institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York (1975), The Trajan Markets in Rome (1992), The Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo (1995), and The Tate Britain in London (2005).
Caro has also received various prestigious awards, such as the Praemium Imperiale, the highest honor awarded by the Japan Art Association in 1992 and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Sculpture in 1997. He was knighted in 1987 and received the Order of Merit in 2000.
The artist’s works are also currently on view at The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In a forthcoming exhibition, Caro will reveal a massive sculpture stretching for three blocks on Park Avenue in New York (2012).
About the Works
One of the most distinct aspects about Caro is that he has always transcended a set of rules or a specific style, which makes his works difficult to categorize. He believes that the value of a work arises from self-exploration and criticism rather than external principles.
Caro established himself in the early 1960s with his innovative use of industrial and found materials that were painted with bright, saturated colors. He escaped sculptural traditions and created dynamic, abstract sculptures drawn in space.
The Trojan War series from the late 1980s served as a turning point for the artist, who had established his reputation with his ability to compose objects and forms in an abstract, painterly manner. His refusal to limit himself to a single mode of expression allows him to constantly reexamine his own impulses, and abstraction becomes just one genre he can work with.
From the present exhibition, works such as Orator or Palace from 2003-2004 recall a specific object, be it a human being or architecture, while Caro’s monumental sculptures, South Passage from 2004 and Star Passage from 2006, assembled with brightly painted metal beams as well as galvanized steel, envision original visual forms derived from an industrial landscape. Finally, Caro’s interest in forming a dialogue also becomes apparent through his tableau works, or sculptures that can hang on a wall, which are displayed on the second floor of the gallery. These works are a part of his relief series from 2010, and they reference a paper collage in the way that various scraps of materials overlap and interact with each other within a frame.
The exhibition features 17 sculptures over the past decade by Anthony Caro , which will be unveiled for the first time. The exhibition therefore provides a valuable opportunity not only to survey works by an artist who directed the development of modern sculpture but also to experience first-hand the artist’s continued self-examination and visual adventure.