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Artists who have influenced me


Working methods
Anthony Caro Artist
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I don't get sculptor's block. I put it away. I'll... I don't want to look at it for a bit. I'll go on to something else and come back to it. And suddenly... suddenly it comes back and it's clear. ‘Well, why didn't I see that before?’ You know, it's clear. I suppose that's a way of getting over sculptor's block. I don't have much sculptor's block because when you've got people working for you too, you can't afford it very much. You know, you have to sort of... you say, you know, ‘We've got to go on, we've got to do something and see whether... see if it works or not’, you know? You don't just... you don't sort of sit with it. It's very difficult writing, like you've just got to... the white paper and a pen, and we have a thing in front of us to which we can add or take away or turn upside down or change or throw away. But, you know, we've got some... we've got a real thing there to cope with. And also it's... it's awkward and heavy and sometimes it needs the gantry to move it and so on. You can't have half as much block as you... as... as a writer can have but... because we're not in the... in that same lonely position as the writer. The writer's in a terribly lonely place, don't you agree?

[Q] I do, yeah.

And don't you find that's true with your writing as opposed to your... your interacting with other people?

[Q] Totally. Writing's a much more difficult...

It's a horrid thing. I mean it's very, very tough. And I think, in a way, you know, the fact of other people being involved means you're interacting with another human being who also has an opinion and so on. So, in a way, something's coming in. It's like... it's like figurative sculpture, something's coming in, whether it's good or bad. Something's there. I even... I think the painter has a harder time than we have because he's on his own more. You know he's just there with... with the thing in front of him. I think this is... this is a kind of the other side of the coin about weight. The things are heavy and things are awkward and things... and you do need a hand and so on and... and it's sometimes a good thing, that. Sometimes it's not... it's not a disadvantage; it's an advantage. You've got to cope with that.

[Q] But as you get older you're not tempted to work with the smaller models that Henry Moore did in order to let somebody else scale them up and realise them?

I'm incredibly lazy and I can... I hate it, actually. I sometimes have a stick and I point with my stick, and I think, must not do that. But, you know, I don't even get dirty now and I say, ‘Would you move that piece to there? No, not that way up, like that. Oh, wait a minute, try it that way up'. You know, you know? It's very lazy but it's the same idea as working with... getting somebody else to... but I don't want other people to come in and make my sculpture bigger, no, and so I don't want that really. I don't want to design it and let somebody else execute it, but I do when it comes to the welding and so on; I don't want to do that – grinding and so on. But I'm very interested in how that sculpture that's been ground and has just come back from the galvaniser, and what it has to be done to it, and when are we going to get it up, and when are we going to get it up are we... which bits are we going to paint and so on. I mean that really... you know, I'm just as concerned with all that as ever I was, so, although I have other people helping me, it's not like sending it out and getting it done. It's very close; it's very... very much in my studio and... and also I know it too. I know that that piece is heavy, and I know it's going to need this sort of thing, and these are the sort of welds I want here. I mean, all that I'm very... I’m close enough to... to be able to take part in but not actually do.

British sculptor Sir Anthony Caro (1924-2013) came to prominence in 1963 after a show at the Whitechapel Gallery. Keen to create a more direct interaction with the viewer he placed pieces directly on the ground, rather than on plinths, a technique now widely used. He held many honorary degrees and was knighted in 1987.

Listeners: Tim Marlow

Tim Marlow is a writer, broadcaster and art historian. He founded "Tate: The Art Magazine" in 1993 and was presenter of Radio 4 arts programme "Kaleidoscope" from 1991 to 1998, for which he won a Sony Award. He has presented art programme's on BBC 1, Channel 4 and Channel 5, including a documentary about JMW Turner, and written about art and culture for various British newspapers and magazines including "The Guardian", "The Times" and "Blueprint" He is Director of Exhibitions at the White Cube gallery in London as well as a visiting lecturer at Winchester School of Art, an examiner on the Sculpture MA there and former creative director of Sculpture at Goodwood

Tags: sculptor's block, writing, lonely place, figurative sculpture, painter, advantages, disadvantages, awkward, art studio

Duration: 4 minutes, 31 seconds

Date story recorded: November 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008