SPECIAL EXHIBITIONS 2018
SIR ANTHONY CARO AND JOHN GOLDING
Caro/ Golding: In Conversation, Piano Nobile’s exhibition at the British Art Fair 2018 was the first to align the work of lifelong friends, Anthony Caro (1924-2013) and John Golding (1929-2012) and to explore their affinities and shared influences.
By showing their work together, the exhibition cast a new light on their respective paths toward abstraction. As close contemporaries, they both absorbed the influence of Abstract Expressionism and translated it into a British context. Consequently, both artists can be regarded as pioneers in the development of 20th-century art: Caro through his de-plinthed, painted, welded and bolted sculpture, and Golding, first through his seminal writings on Cubism and Abstract Expressionism, and second by his impressive and diverse oeuvre of hard edged and colourfield paintings.
Piano Nobile’s display showed these two artists at the moment they arrived at their full creative maturity in the early 1970s. Caro’s intimate and tactile Table and Writing Piece sculptures reclaim the plinth he had discarded in the early ’60s. Created as independent objects – not maquettes designed for enlargement – they illustrate the artist’s ability to integrate strong sculptural forms into domestic space on a human scale. Golding’s painting from the same period is similarly interested in the human frame. Corporeal contours like wisps of smoke in his early work harden into abstract lines and expansive bodies of colour in the ’70s.
For the first time in a generation in London visitors were able to view an exhibition in a public space by Ivon Hitchens with over 25 works from all periods of the artist’s career on view. The presentation was mounted by Jonathan Clark, the noted Hitchens specialist and dedicated to the memory of Victor Sandelson (1928-2017), the father of the fair’s new owners. As an art market correspondent for the Financial Times, Victor Sandelson wrote about Hitchens in the early 1950s. He would later collect Hitchens’ works, although the artist’s request to paint Victor’s wife nude was turned down. Hitchens is now recognised as the pre-eminent landscape painter of 20th century Britain. The presentation presented a unique opportunity to view the artist’s development over the decades.
In 2018, the fair supported the charity Paintings in Hospitals. So giving over a space to Riley seemed most appropriate. Her hospital interventions are well known and her writing on the subject pertinent, acute and inspiring. The most recent work in St Mary's Paddington which was completed in 2014 and is on the floor of the trauma unit. She said of this at the time to The Guardian : "It reminds patients that theirs is a transitory state, that they are there to recover and rejoin life – that life goes on, and life is outside, and they feel reassured."