Royal Academy Patrons & friends, including my friend E. and I, embarked on a day trip to Yorkshire to visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle. Actually, though its name suggests otherwise, the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle comprises four Yorkshire “Triangle” sites:
– Leeds Art Gallery, which is currently hosting a Terry Frost exhibition
– Henry Moore Institute, showing a tiny Eileen Agar display at the moment
– Hepworth Wakefield (the building was designed by David Chipperfield), located in the birth place of Barbara Hepworth, is now presenting a Barbara Hepworth exhibition on her later years, complementary to the ongoing Tate Britain exhibition
– Yorkshire Sculpture Park, an outstanding open-air gallery
Caro in Yorkshire is presented at the two latter sites: part 1 at the Hepworth Wakefield and part 2 in Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Longside Gallery. It was the highlight of the day for me (in addition to the delicious lunch at the Hepworth Wakefield), especially as the last exhibition I saw of Anthony Caro (1924-2013) was held during his lifetime and my first month in London, in March 2005.
Both Eleanor Clayton, curator at Hepworth Wakefield, and Sarah Coulston, curator at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, guided us through the exhibition. Caro’s key accomplishment as a sculptor, in my view, was to demonstrate the physical presence of sculpture by his revolutionary tactic of placing sculptures on the ground, presenting them without any plinth. The Hepworth Wakefield shows his table pieces, which are early works but look incredibly contemporary. Caro used beams, girders and other found items he painted in bright colours. From the 1970s, he abandoned bright colours and worked on steel texture.
Although Caro is better known for his sculptures constructed and welded in steel, he experimented with materials during his life. There is no chronology per se of his use of sculpting materials but he went from bronze to steel, embraced and retreated from paper, and found an enthusiasm for the possibilities of Perspex at the end of his life. Later, he contacted Venice-based artists and siblings Laura de Santillana and Alessandro Diaz de Santillana to tap their expertise to work in glass but he unfortunately died before being able to experiment with glass.
I strongly recommend seeing both shows – and what better place than the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle to hold an exhibition on one of the world’s greatest sculptors? Caro in Yorkshire is presented in two exhibitions at The Hepworth Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park until November 1st, 2015. Caro’s sculpture Aurora (2000–03) is also displayed outside Henry Moore Institute and Leeds Art Gallery.