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'I want to continue looking forward until I die'


What motivates my art
Anthony Caro Artist
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[Q] When you make sculpture, is it a quest for some kind of truth – potentially at least?

Well it's not like that; each individual... I suppose for each individual sculpture it is, yes. It is in a way, yes, yes. Yes, and I suppose its universality is because... you know, because of people appreciating it or people entering into it... into that world. It makes it sort of a... it makes it some sort of universal thing in a way, you know. Didn't every work of art like that... that is not just purely self-masturbation? It... it is sort of to do with a response and reaching out, wouldn't you think?

[Q] I think so, yeah. Have you ever been interested in self-expression as an idea? Does your work seem about you, instinctive in expressing intimate parts of yourself?

No, I don't think like that. I don't think... I think it's too much to do with the subject to be... the subject of sculpture like the subject of cookery, or the subject of... of being a surgeon or something. I mean that seems to me that you get... that's where you get focused. The surgeon is not thinking about himself; he's thinking about doing the job as well as he can. And some part of the way he approaches it, or the cook, certainly – some part of the way they approach it is to do with their character. The cook's food is not just food; it's also this cook's food.  The way... the way it's presented, the way it's... the amount of sugar and... and spice they put in is also something to do with... with him that's... that's particular – or her. But I think when you say self-expression you're giving too big an importance to the artist or to the... to the creator of it. Because it’s... it's a partnership. When you make art, it's a partnership between yourself and the material and it's a partnership with the people who are working beside you in the studio by helping you do the welding and so on. And it's a partnership with your... with the knowledge that you've... that you've accumulated over... over all your experience of all your life.

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: sculpture, motivation, self-expression

Duration: 3 minutes

Date story recorded: November 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008