Pangolin London will present a major retrospective of this important Modern British sculptor.
The exhibition will include drawings, prints, paintings, sculpture, maquettes and jewellery, celebrating Clarke as a polymath and prolific maker. Spanning over five decades of making, there will be several works that have never been on public display. The exhibition also highlights how, despite experiments in scale or material, Clarke never lost sight of his visual language, rather his carefully considered line, bold form and delicate surface textures were the constant whatever the medium.
Clarke, elected into the Royal Academy in 1976, was the most commissioned artist of the 1950s, outstripping contemporaries such as Henry Moore who have in recent years enjoyed a higher level of public recognition. A pioneer of new materials in the 50s, especially in cast aluminium, his works are installed the length and breadth of Geoffrey Clarke welding the iron sculpture Symbol, 1955 the country. Commissions include the stained glass windows and other works in Coventry Cathedral, working under Sir Basil Spence, a sculpture for the Time Life building and glass mosaics for a palace in Abu Dhabi. He also created large-scale land art, contributing to the land art movement in the 60s and 70s.
In one extraordinary work from 1974, Passage of Moments, Clarke created a scented sculpture, which, through smells, takes the viewer on a romantic journey. Although much faded, the scents are still detectable. This subversiveness and humour can be seen in many of Clarke’s works like, for instance, Cupid’s Action Pack, a work exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1973 which comprises two kits, each containing a bow, brass arrows, tinctures and flowers in a roll up canvas case.
Other highlights of the exhibition including Pilgrim, (below) 1994, show how by the 90s, Clarke’s work reduced form to the point at which a lonely figure could be simply conveyed by a rectangular column and a sphere.
Geoffrey Clarke was one of the most prolific and diverse makers of his generation. This exhibition and catalogue raisonné highlights the breadth of materials with which Clarke experimented and eventually mastered, whilst exploring his life-long fascination with expressing form. His oeuvre must be celebrated and recognised for what it is: one of the most important and diverse bodies of Modern British work to have been created.
(Polly Bielecka, Director Pangolin London)