Anthony Caro was one of the most exciting, challenging and influential sculptors in his generation. He died in October 2013 (not December 2013 as it says on the Tate website and information guide in the room, but moving swiftly on…) and to commemorate his work, Tate Modern has put on a small, focused display of two pieces that reflect his radical approach.
Earlier in his career, Anthony created figurative works. But in the early 1960s, Anthony turned his back on this style and started experimenting with creating works by bolting and/or welding pieces of steel together, whether it was sheets, bars, poles, plates or beams.
He also discarded plinths and, instead, placed his new works directly on the ground, changing the way a viewer reacts to them, even interacts with them.
Occasionally he would even smother his pieces in bright colours – quite a radical act given that the surfaces of sculptures were usually left as a polished or rough version of the raw material used.
And these thoughts, these approaches to sculpture, can be seen in the two pieces the Tate Modern has on show – Yellow Swing, 1965, and Emma Dipper, 1977
Yellow Swing showcases Anthony’s trademark style that he developed – the bright yellow colour jars as much as the steel bars and sheets that jut out into the space. And though the curation means that you are unable to walk fully around the piece, from the three sides you can see it from reveal a different piece depending where you view it from. Its shape isn’t uniform – it’s erratic and challenging.
Similar for Emma Dipper, a piece he made during a very productive period when he was working near Emma Lake in Canada. The piece was largely defined by the limited raw materials Anthony had available to him in such a remote location. But, like all his pieces, this too was a designed and planned piece and not as random as it may appear at first glance.
These are not the only Anthony Caro works to be seen in the vicinity for outside is the Millennium Bridge, the design and structure of which Anthony created in collaboration with Norman Foster and engineer Chris Wise.
So make that three Anthony Caro works you can see on your visit to Tate Modern.
Tate Modern, London