a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Becoming an artist


The need for challenge
Anthony Caro Artist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

[Q] You could have made elegant, beautiful, graceful, abstract, coloured steel sculptures for decades and been a very successful artist in making those.

Yeah, I could have gone on. That's when you get suspicious – when it's easy. You know, you can do one or two easy, but watch out, watch out. I don't say you've got to have a problem but you've got to have an issue somewhere. You can't just make more. I think it... it's the most boring thing. It's... it becomes... it becomes a sort of the old gramophone syndrome – it's the same old thing, you know. It's like teaching; you cannot teach when it's... when it's... when you're not thinking of the answer. When you know the answer already it's too easy. You've got to be challenged. If you can't be challenged, then challenge yourself. And I think this is... this answers all sorts of questions like... about going on workshops, or about people saying to you, ‘Will you... will you do something completely different, like the interior of a building or something?’ All these are... are the sort of things that suddenly become worth... worth addressing, or a new sort of sculpture. It's worth addressing those. Don't address something that... that's a walkover, you know. Very like... like tennis or something like that; just like tennis. I'm very interested in the way tennis players behave and their sort of... the way they pace themselves, the way they practise and... and how they come to do it naturally, how they come to forget the strokes that they've practised. But they bring them in. It's very like that, you know. You focus very hard on things that you can almost do them in a practice situation until, in the end, then it's second nature, so that's... that's... then you can... then they come out... come out well.

[Q] How do you practise as an artist?

Well, doing it a lot. And... and, you know, new materials, new... new problems, new finishes, new places to work with, new lifting gear, I mean, you know. Some very practical, down to earth things and some... some very... and I'm sure that, you know... where the walls are, how big the space you work in, the... you know... Johnny who's working with you. I mean all these things are influencing you and... and changing your touch and... and making you see a little differently. ‘So, okay, let's try it a different way. We've had the sculpture like this while it was before and, now it's made, when you put it together again, let's put it up in a different place.’ So we... we find ourselves focusing on a different side, or we find ourselves seeing it a little differently, and see whether it works then, you know, all that stuff.

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: suspicious, challenged, abstract steel, practice, materials, finishes, places, colleagues

Duration: 3 minutes, 51 seconds

Date story recorded: November 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008