© Barford Sculptures Ltd


Sir Anthony Caro (1924 – 2013)


120 X 335.5 X 147.5
Accession number


Pink Stack, a big metal sculpture with a large spread, is composed of only seven pieces, an economy of formal means which almost belies the baroque richness of its composition. A photograph taken from the four cardinal points would reveal a different configuration each time, and a Caro sculpture, like a Bernini, requires that the spectator works his way around it for a full realization of its formal relationships. The spectator’s journey round the work echoes the way Caro would have examined the directional lines as he actually made the sculpture; for him making is physical and mental act, pushing the pieces around and assessing their formal validity before finally bolting and welding them into place. The physical aspect initially takes the upper hand, since he begins a work without forward planning, without a sketch or maquette to guide or constrain him. In order to keep all the parts in equilibrium, so that none gained prominence and dominated the whole, Caro took to painting his metal sculptures. Often he chose commercial colours, such as this pink, which would previously have been thought a most unlikely colour for sculpture. By 1970 he made the decision to leave the steel of his sculptures unpainted, revealing the nature and strength of the material which the paint obscured. Paint also tended to deny a sense of gravity, and a good many of Caro’s sculptures of the 1970s have weightlessness, seeming to float up from ground rather than to bear down upon it.

A selection of paintings and sculpture: The British Council Collection, The British Council 1984