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Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible Ocula Report Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible 17 Apr 2019 : Federica Bueti for Ocula

I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...

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Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui Ocula Conversation Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui

The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...

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The National 2019: New Australian Art Ocula Report The National 2019: New Australian Art 13 Apr 2019 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...

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Anthony Caro

(1924 - 2013), United Kingdom

Sir Anthony Alfred Caro OM CBE was a British Modernist sculptor. His work is characterised by unique assemblages of found industrial materials. Educated at Charterhouse School, Caro studied engineering at Christ's College, Cambridge and worked in the studio of sculptor Charles Wheeler during his school holidays, before going on to serve in the Royal Navy. In 1946 he enrolled at the Regent Street Polytechnic to study sculpture, and he studied at the Royal Academy Schools from 1947 to 1952.

In the early 1950s, Caro worked as an assistant to Henry Moore. At the time, Caro was making figurative sculptures in clay and plaster, sometimes cast in bronze, such as Man Holding His Foot (1954). Caro's encounters with Moore and, subsequently, American art critic Clement Greenberg and American Modernists like Kenneth Noland and David Smith, inspired him to adopt a more mechanical approach to sculpture in the early 1960s. His abstract work first came to public attention in 1963 with a solo show at the Whitechapel Gallery, London. Twenty Four Hours (1960) and Early One Morning (1962) are two excellent examples of Caro's earliest abstract works in steel.

Twenty Four Hours represents Caro's first abstract sculpture, as well as his first welded sculpture. Constructed entirely from recycled pieces of steel, the 'found' quality of the material is integral to the work. Caro's newly developed technique saw him welding or bolting together pieces of steel, a practice undoubtedly informed by his background in engineering. The finished work was often then painted in a bright monochrome. The works are placed directly on the floor or in a landscape setting with manicured parklands, innovatively eliminating the need for a plinth and enabling a more direct and personal encounter between the work and its viewer. In their day these austere, colourful, abstract works that emphasised line, shape and edge were enormously influential.

Caro's style developed further in the 1980s, when he reintroduced literal and figurative elements into his sculpture. A visit to Greece in 1985 resulted in a series of large-scale narrative works, including the panoramic After Olympia (1986/7) and Déjeuner sur l'herbe II (1989), the latter of which was based on Édouard Manet's infamous 1863 painting. Part of Caro's long-running 'table sculptures' series—initiated much earlier in 1966—Déjeuner sur l'herbe II represents an important aspect of his oeuvre. Modest in scale in comparison with more monumental abstract works, the title of the series references the distinctive reduction in size. Déjeuner sur l'herbe II and the Greek series both allude to the expanded frame of reference that characterises Caro's practice from this period until his death.

In this period, Caro experimented with diverse materials including lead, silver, wood and stoneware. He began making large ceramic sculptures in the mid-1990s. Caro explored his interest in architecture as well, collaborating with Frank Gehry in 1987. He also co-designed the London Millennium Footbridge with architect Norman Foster. In 2008, Caro opened his Chapel of Light at the Church of Saint Jean Baptiste in Bourbourg, France.

Caro died of a heart attack on 23 October 2013. During his lifetime as well as posthumously, his work has been exhibited extensively and internationally, including retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1975); Trajan's Market, Rome (1992); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (1995); Tate Britain, London (2005); and three museums in Pas-de-Calais, France (2008), and can be viewed in public collections across the world. Knighted in 1987, Caro received the Order of Merit in May 2000, and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for Sculpture in 1997.

Georgia Messervy | Ocula | 2017
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Featured Artworks

Emma That by Anthony Caro contemporary artwork Anthony CaroEmma That, 1977 Steel, rusted, blacked and painted red
133.5 x 142 x 272 cm
Barcelona Concert by Anthony Caro contemporary artwork Anthony CaroBarcelona Concert, 1987 Steel rusted and varnished
76 x 348 x 155 cm
Bronze Screen No.1 by Anthony Caro contemporary artwork Anthony CaroBronze Screen No.1, 1980 Bronze, cast and welded
197 x 111.5 x 33 cm
Inset by Anthony Caro contemporary artwork Anthony CaroInset, 1973 Steel rusted and varnished, unique
203 x 165 x 180.5 cm
Oratorio (B2191) by Anthony Caro contemporary artwork Anthony CaroOratorio (B2191), 1991–1992 Brass, varnished and painted black and white
170 x 99 x 79 cm
Upon Reflection by Anthony Caro contemporary artwork Anthony CaroUpon Reflection, 2009 Oxidized steel
130 x 122 x 122 cm

Current Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Anthony Caro, Jules Olitski, Les années 70 - 80 at Templon, Paris
Open Now
16 March–11 May 2019 Anthony Caro, Jules Olitski Les années 70 - 80 Templon, 28 Grenier Saint-Lazare, Paris

Represented By

In Related Press

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Art and Space Related Press Art and Space Frieze : 17 January 2018

2017 marked the 20th anniversary of the Guggenheim Bilbao, the museum that launched the mythical 'Bilbao effect' and dozens of hopeful regional art institutions. The museum ended the year with an exhibition departing from a 1969 exchange between one of Spain's most prominent sculptors, Eduardo Chillida, and the German philosopher Martin...

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Anthony Caro: Paper Like Steel, New Art Centre, Salisbury, review Related Press Anthony Caro: Paper Like Steel, New Art Centre, Salisbury, review Indipendant : 9 May 2017

The late sculptor Anthony Caro's 30 small-scale works made out of paper display an unusual delicacy from the artist known for his large abstract sculptures in metal.Who in his right mind would readily associate the idea of Anthony Caro with the yielding fragilities of paper? Caro as a sculptor was a man wedded, life-long, to metal, and his...

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Throwing shade: artists explore the visual language of colour Related Press Throwing shade: artists explore the visual language of colour Wallpaper* : 2 March 2017

What is colour? The artists of the mid-twentieth century had a few attempts at defining what it could be.Take David Annesley — one of the artists included in Colour is, a group exhibition opened this week at Waddington Custot on Cork Street, London. Interested in the possibilities of colour to insinuate movement, his glorious bright yellow...

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Contemporary Chinese artists take over Cass Sculpture Foundation Related Press Contemporary Chinese artists take over Cass Sculpture Foundation Wallpaper* : 6 July 2016

Now in their 90s, art patrons Wilfred and Jeannette Cass have opened their most ambitious exhibition ever. A Beautiful Disorder, on show at the Cass Sculpture Foundation in Sussex features the monumental works of 18 leading Chinese artists.

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