Lot 6
  • 6

Geoffrey Clarke RA

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Description

  • Geoffrey Clarke RA
  • Battersea III
  • aluminium

Exhibited

London, Battersea Park, Battersea Open-Air Sculpture Exhibition, 1963
London, Arts Council of Great Britain Gallery, Towards Art II. Sculptors from the Royal College of Art. An Arts Council Exhibition, 1965
King’s Lynn, 18th King’s Lynn Festival, 1968
Horringer, Bury St. Edmunds, Ickworth Park, 1968
Abingdon, Abingdon Old Gaol, Sculpture Exhibition, 1975-76
Cambridge, Jesus College, Sculpture in the Close, 1999
London, Pangolin London, Geoffrey Clarke: A Decade of Change, 2013, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Literature

Robert Harding, ‘Reviews’, in Sculpture Journal, vol. 23-3, 2014, illustrated p. 409

Catalogue Note

Geoffrey Clarke was among the artists who rose to prominence in the second half of the 20th century using a distinctive style which in 1952 art critic Herbert Read termed ‘the geometry of fear’. These artists, among who also counted Lynn Chadwick and Edoardo Paolozzi, engaged in creating battered and gnarled organic forms which reflected the trampled soul of post-war Britain.  Battersea II and III comprise two of three monumental sculptures produced by Geoffrey Clarke for the Battersea Open Air Sculpture Exhibition in 1963. The sculptures resemble large pieces of artillery, abandoned and disused, a grand footprint of industrialised warfare. The metal is roughly hewn and coarsened rather than smoothed before casting.

Set in the beautiful landscape of Derbyshire, where the artist himself was born, these works begin to meld with the natural environment and their twisted forms take on an insinuation of organic matter. They serve as a striking emblem of the symbiotic relationship between man and nature, mutually nourishing and parasitic in equal measure.

Battersea II and III are among the artist’s earliest works which use his pioneering technique of casting aluminium with expanded polystyrene which evaporates during the process. Clarke was a fearless experimenter and his innovative techniques epitomise the vibrancy of the post-war British art scene. From 1952 to 1962, he worked on the stained glass windows and sculptural details of Coventry Cathedral which had been badly damaged by the Luftwaffe in the Second World War and succeeded in bringing a modernist sensitivity to the venerated altars and nave windows.

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