An Opera for Animals was first staged at Para Site in Hong Kong between 23 March and 2 June 2019, with works by over 48 artists and collectives that use opera as a metaphor for modes of contemporary, cross-disciplinary art-making. The exhibition's second iteration takes up a large portion of the Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) in Shanghai (22 June–25...
For three months from 1 June to 1 September 2019, Tai Kwun Contemporary in Hong Kong showcases MURAKAMI vs MURAKAMI, a major survey exhibition of the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. Curated by Tobias Berger, head of art at Tai Kwun, and Gunnar B Kvaran, director of Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, the exhibition spans the three floors of Tai Kwun's...
Get Up Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers at Somerset House in London (12 June–15 September 2019) surveys more than half a century of black creativity in Britain and beyond across the fields of art, film, photography, music, design, fashion, and literature.Curated by Zak Ové, works by approximately 100 intergenerational black...
Exhibition view of Godroon, 1966, by David Annesley at Waddington Custot. Courtesy of Waddington Custot.
Certain colour combinations make David Annesley feel quite ill. The new generation sculptor, now 84, has always had a physical, kinaesthetic response to colour - a maroon can be 'too maroon', a yellow 'too yellow'. Each of his geometric steel pieces is finely, painstakingly colour-coded, matched and painted, with shade adjustments often ongoing for weeks.
David Annesley (b. 1936, London) received early recognition for his colour sculptures at The New Generation: 1965 show at the Whitechapel Gallery, London. The exhibition showcased a new generation of sculptors who had been taught by Anthony Caro at St Martin's School of Art in London in the early sixties. The new approach was defined by the placement of sculptures directly on the ground, allowing them to occupy the same floor-space as the viewer; the use of new materials such as fibreglass, aluminium and plastic, which were less expensive and more practical than traditional bronze; and the use of bright colours.
Annesley's open-form, metal sculptures drew upon his own physical experience flying as an RAF pilot. They convey a sense of weightlessness and expand into and envelop the surrounding space outlined by their linear forms. Their dynamic compositions instil a sense of movement, further animated by titles such as Loquat and Godroon, words and phrases chosen by Annesley for their sounds rather than for their anecdotal or literary content. In 1964, Annesley was introduced by Caro to the American Color Field painter, Kenneth Noland, with whom he stayed in 1966 and 1968 in Bennington, Vermont. This artistic friendship was significant in bridging the traditionally separate mediums of sculpture and painting, and encouraged Annesley's exploration of colour relationships in his sculptures.
Annesley completed National Service in 1958, and later the same year enrolled at St Martin's to study painting. He transferred to the sculpture department to study under Anthony Caro, and worked as his studio assistant with fellow student Michael Bolus. After graduating in 1961, he taught at the Croydon College of Art, St Martin's and Central School of Art and Design, London. His first solo exhibition was held at The Waddington Galleries, London, in 1966. He would have two more solo shows at Waddington Galleries in 1968 and 1970. Swing Low, 1964, Loquat, 1965 and Untitled, 1968–1969 entered the Tate collection in 1971 as part of the Alistair McAlpine Gift. Annesley's work is held in other important public collections around the world, including the British Council Collection; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Nagoya City Art Museum, Japan; and National Museums of Northern Ireland. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 1995.
Waddington Custot is delighted to present a solo exhibition by British sculptor David Annesley. The exhibition will feature a selection of Annesley's celebrated large-scale, geometric colour sculpture from the 1960s, shown alongside more recent table-top sculptures which return to the same ideas of colour, lightness and movement of his earlier work.
Annesley's 1960s welded steel and aluminium sculptures are imposing in presence but still retain a delicacy of structure. He used colour to suggest the idea of dynamism and weightlessness in his sculptures, believing that colour opened up 'a whole new way of articulating and realising feeling in sculpture'. This is evident in _Untitled, _1968-1969, a circle contained within a triangular shape set in a larger circle, where Annesley's use of complementary light blue and green tones disguise the mass of the material and convey a sense of lightness. The artist Kenneth Noland, who was a close friend, saw Annesley's sculptures as the extension of colour field painting: as painting got flatter, Annesley saw the potential of sculpture to take colour to another dimension.
The work from the sixties explores the relation of the body to the sculpture, examining the ratio of the parts to the whole. Many of the sculptures work in series, featuring the same motif, repeated or reduced in size. Two sculptures, _Loquat, _1965-2017 and _Godroon, _1966-2017 relate to each other in this way. Both use wave-like shapes, built up in varying sizes, forms and colour. The lack of a straight edge on which the sculpture should sit gives the illusion of instability and movement.These two sculptures, as well as _Untitled, _1969-2017, have been remade this year under the supervision of the artist. All three sculptures were destroyed in the Momart fire of 2004, but following a lengthy process and using the original specifications, the sculptures have been reconstructed on the occasion of this exhibition as a chance to revisit the ideas that persistently arise in Annesley's work. Annesley's first-ever solo exhibition was at Waddington Galleries in 1966. This 2017 exhibition, looking back to Annesley's works from the 1960s, brings these seminal sculptures to the fore and reassesses them from a contemporary viewpoint. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue featuring two newly commissioned essays by the artist Richard Wentworth and Jon Wood, Head of Research at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds.
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