Anthony Caro, Month of May, 1963, steel and aluminium, painted, 110 1/16 × 120 1/16 × 141 1/8 inches (279.5 × 305 × 358.5 cm) © Barford Sculptures Limited. Photo by Mike Bruce.

"Anthony Caro" at the Thomas Schütte Foundation, Neuss/Holzheim, Germany.

On view September 10 through December 17, 2017.


Creating abstract sculpture was the task that Anthony Caro set himself when he encountered American abstract painting in the late 1950s. He wanted to make a sculpture that would be „as important in a room as a person.” For his first works, Caro used standard construction industry steel beams. Instead of setting them upright, he placed them on the floor, side by side and stacked on top of one other—firmly in the real world. The parts are not joined, yet they appear connected, and each one, no matter what its size, has equal significance within the overall sculpture. Painted in bright colours, these sculptures expand into the surrounding space. Instead of evoking a figure, they create an open situation that draws the viewer in.

Over the years, Caro’s work became increasingly pictorial. One early sign of this is his use of wire mesh to bind the depth of staggered elements. Instead of using pre-existing materials, he now began to work with individual forms, and increasingly placed the sculpture within a confined area, making it into a stage on which a scene plays out. Caro would often choose machine elements suggesting unknown functions, translating them into images. In addition to the colours, the effect of the metal itself—Corten steel, brass—in combination with plexiglass, that brings light into the structure.

Among Caro’s innovations are his Table Sculptures. Although they stand on plinths, individual elements project into the space of the viewer.

Caro did not make preliminary designs or studies, but worked improvisationally on the sculpture itself. And yet there are models of his sculptures, shown in this exhibition. These models served as an inventory of what he had already made, and so, being created after the fact, their degree of perfection is extraordinary.

Dieter Schwarz, Curator



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Website: Thomas Schütte Stiftung | Anthony Caro