Sir Anthony Caro is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest living sculptors. This major retrospective, presented in the artist’s eightieth year, surveys over fifty years of his work. On show are seminal pieces from the early 1960s, including the ground-breaking steel sculptures which established Caro’s reputation, in the context of new and recent works in which fresh lines of innovation and development are apparent.
Caro first achieved widespread recognition in the early 1960s. He abandoned his earlier, figurative way of working which involved modelling in clay and casting in bronze, and began to make purely abstract works: sculpture constructed and welded in steel, comprising beams, girders and other found elements painted in bright colours. Such works caused a sensation, provoking a response from some critics that these constructions were not sculpture at all.
Nevertheless, Caro’s innovations heralded a revolution in art. Within a short period, conventional ideas about materials, surface, scale, form and space were overturned by his radical reworking of all these elements. Foremost was Caro’s insistence on the immediate, real, physical presence of the sculpture – placed directly on the ground – a principle which became widely imitated and subsequently becoming a touchstone for contemporary sculpture.