Anthony Caro's first abstract sculpture was made in 1959, when the sculptor was 35. It was a radical break with previous work - massively modelled figures - particular1y in terms of means. Modelling and carving, as in the work of Henry Moore, suggest the physical pressure of the hand or chisel upon a mass of a certain predetermined size, and the domination of physical processo in the formation of a physical assertive image. The additive process of assembly and construction which Caro adopted in 1959 is far more openended: it allows for the emergence, during the working process, of sculptural forms and configurations suggested by the individual elements or by chance juxtapositions of them. Caro makes neither drawing nor maquettes for his sculptures; full sculptural process itself the means to the discovery of scuptural formo The lesson that an open-ended and unself-conscious process can be the means to self-realization in art was one lamed in painting some twenty years ago from Jackson Pollock. Caro's first assembled abstract sculpture was made soon after a visit to America when he made friends with the critic Clement Greenberg, Pollock's principal champion, and with Kenneth Noland, a painter who was himself then concemed with process as a means of Iiberation from compositnon and with laying down of colour at c10se range as a means of liberation from picture-making. The major development in art since the war has been the emancipation of first painting and more recently sculpture from the conditioned relationship imposed in the one by the trame and in the other by the pedestal. Caro's has been the major part in effecting the latter. Ris sculptures occupy the space we occupy and confront us on equal terms. They require only that we respect the identity which is the sum of their elements, and that we make some attempt to relate ourselves to them. Caro's sculptures are visual but not tangible. We cannot know them by handling them. The reality of the sculpture is something abstract that forms in our minds out of sensations of balance, direction, colour, angle, etc. There are no references to the body; only to the open mind within the body. Because the kind of relationship we have with sculpture is not the kind Caro wishes us to have with his, he has worked to eliminate from his own art those factors which have conventionally conditioned the way sculpture is seen. The pedestal was the most obvious obstac1e. Scale has been another factor; the size of Caro's sculptures in conditioned by human scale and range of movement. They are never so large as to 100m over us - the largest works, like Prairie and The Window, are either low enough to look over or open enough to see and pass through - nor are they small enough or compact enough to possess as objects. We cannot hold them in the hand nor, from any fixed poinl, can we entirely comprehend their mass. As we move around is, a sculpture like Carriage reveals new facets of itself new relationships between its elements, yet, remains in identity, marvellously constant. In the true democracy of art, we need neither monuments to impose upon us nor objects to enhance our status. In sustaining the relationship of mutual respect between sculpture and espectator Caro conceals nothing. In the superb Prairie, the means of supporting and joining, while the are not obstrusive, are perfectly explicito In Sight our curiosity about the means of achieving such balance is easily satisfied. The important factor is not how the elements are joined, but what happens when the contact is made, what relationships and what angles are formed, and what directions are opened up before us. A sculpture like Lal's Turn is kept open from within by the angles formed at points of contact and by the directions implied by the elements so joined. Titan is kept from being too weighty by the lightness and voluntariness of the contact made between separate elements where they meet. Tension, felt as phsical stress, is absent from even the most expansive works. Surface texture is also minimized and separate surfaces are integrated by colour. Caro's sculptures are put together as a poem is put together, words and phrases joined to make a whole which enbodies a truth and meaningfulness far greater than the sum of the individual parts, and not available to prose. And just as the true poet will use the everyday language he speaks, because it has meaning and use but no special style other than what he can give it, Caro uses common elements from the modem world both for their relevance
Primeira parte do Catálogo da 10ª Bienal de São Paulo (1969).