Anthony Caro at Cliveden

Lynn Chadwick

The National Trust and Blain|Southern are delighted to announce the exhibition of internationally renowned British sculptor, Sir Anthony Caro OM CBE (1924- 2013). Curated by Amanda Renshaw, 16 monumental works are exhibited across the Grade I listed grounds, charting Caro’s career and his varied, boundary pushing approach to sculpture.

A history of art

Exhibiting sculpture outdoors has been a significant feature of the designed landscape at Cliveden since the 18th- century. From large figurative works such as Joan of Arc in the Ilex Grove, to decorative architectural features such as the Borghese Balustrade on the Parterre; for three centuries new art and design has offered fresh perspectives of Cliveden’s remarkable gardens. This year visitors have the opportunity of seeing sculptures by an artist widely regarded as the greatest British sculptor of his generation. Spanning over 40 years of the artist’s career, the works in the exhibition are predominantly installed along Cliveden’s Green Drive - a mile long path that runs the length of the eastern side of the estate.

Anthony Caro at Cliveden

Caro came to prominence through a landmark exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1963. Rejecting the prevailing preference for cast and carved figuration, he presented painted, abstract steel sculptures displayed, for the first time, without plinths. This was a radical new proposition, omitting a pedestal and presenting work directly on the floor, changing the way sculpture was interpreted and allowing viewers to engage with the work from their own perspective.

Whilst Caro's very early sculptures were exclusively figurative, the rigorously abstract assemblages of steel and found industrial objects, for which he is celebrated, continue to maintain a relationship with the human form. Their height, apparent solidity or weightlessness; their brightly coloured or impenetrable surfaces; their sweeping shapes and rugged forms, evoke characteristics and sensations that are palpable and have distinct parallels with our own physical selves.

Works such as Slow March (1985) with its curves, golden sheen and red stripe reminiscent of martial bands, and Scorched Flats (1974), created whilst Caro worked at a steel construction plant in Canada, are placed at intervals along the Green Drive, falling in an out of view as visitors make the journey along the path.  Following in the 18th- century tradition of an ‘eye catcher’, used throughout Cliveden’s Grade I listed grounds, these contemporary sculptures will encourage the viewer to not only consider the works themselves, but the wider landscape in which they are placed.

‘To walk around Caro’s pieces is to see their compositions shift radically. His capacity to transform construction-site leftovers into stimulating compositions sharpens the senses, boggles the mind and attunes us to our surroundings.’ David Pagel, Los Angeles Times

The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive publication with full colour plates detailing all the works and an essay by Amanda Renshaw.

The works of Anthony Caro are available to view until 10 November 2019. The exhibition is included within Cliveden’s normal admission price.

Anthony Caro Walking leaflet (PDF / 2.6MB) download