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Advice to young artists


A little bit of travelling
Anthony Caro Artist
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[Q] In... at the beginnings of Modern Art with a capital M, at the beginnings of the twentieth century, artists like Picasso and…  and others went back to what they saw as the beginnings of art and... and culture in non-Western art, in what was called primitive art. Have you ever had that kind of impulse? Have you ever... do you ever... have you ever felt, as an artist, the idea that you ought to try and get rid of all the baggage of your own work and... and the history of Western Art, if you like, and that feeling of trying to start again?

I think I did that in the '60s. I think that was so in the '60s. But I really wasn't looking at old art at all. I don't think I feel it now, no; I don't think I feel it. But, on the other hand, I don't want to see that much art. I mean, I think when travelling: where would I would like to go? I would like to go to Cappadocia because they've got those extraordinary sort of pillars of mountains – pillars with people living in the holes, and, you know, it's like a cave in a mountain. I think that's very exciting. India was a knockout for me, knockout. Mexico: I don't know enough, but it... it's... it’s tight, and I go for it and then I go off it a bit.

[Q] What was the attraction of India? Was it its difference, its otherness?

Well, it's enormous. It's... it's... it feels like we're a tiny part; it's a world, it's a world. Partly the way people live and partly, you know, the variety of what you see and... Have you been to India? Yes, well you know what it's like in Delhi and all these incredible...

[Q] But not travelled across it.

No, no, but I mean to say just a bit of it. It's just... it's just so... so... it's so rich, it's so incredibly varied and rich and it just knocks you out. The art... some of it's marvellous, do you know? No, no, I mean I'm not hungry to go to places like I used to be, not so hungry to go to places. I enjoy it when I get there and I like... you know, as I say, I would have liked to have gone to Persepolis and...and seen that and, you know... And I've had very good times when going for three weeks to Rome was marvellous when I had a show there. And, oh, you know, all that.

[Q] What do you feel about an artist like Constable who barely travelled further than about 100 miles from where he was born? I mean Suffolk, London, Brighton, I think one trip to the Lake District, and that was the sum total of his experience of the world. And yet he produced extraordinary work.

Marvellous. But he did go to Dorset too because I know because the cottage I have in Dorset's got the same view. He... I think he's wonderful. I never really... you know, horses for courses. He's... it's fine; it's just fine.

[Q] Horses being the operative word.

Yes, yes.

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: India, Delhi, Persepolis, Rome, Dorset, Cappadocia, Mexico, Pablo Picasso

Duration: 3 minutes, 33 seconds

Date story recorded: November 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008