Academy Piece

1971
Steel mesh, Mild steel
640 x 150 x 640 cm
Edition of 1

Academy Piece is constructed from painted mild steel and steel mesh and uses juxtaposed, repeated elements to create a sense of pressure. King himself notes that it was “a variation on the earlier Brancusi-like attempt to gain verticality through leaning. All the shapes stand up through being pushed on three or four sides.” (Hilton, 1992, Henry Moore Foundation and Lund Humphries). First shown at the Royal Academy exhibition British Sculpture 72, this massive structure filled a whole gallery, and Hilton suggests that King's intentions might be better perceived if it were to be seen in the open air – “Its difficulty might be moderated in the open air. In fact it was made out of doors at the Dunstable studio and is surely one of those pieces whose nature requires an outdoor site.”

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About The Artist

Phillip King’s early works of the fifties were generally small and made in clay and plaster, they were described as being of a robust Brutalist and Surrealist nature. In 1962, he started to use fibreglass and colour, and seminal works such as ‘Rosebud’, ‘Genghis Khan’ and ‘Twilight’ brought King’s work to the attention of the art world in 1963. These gave way to large and small–scale abstract sculpture, which often combined various materials. In the late eighties, King turned to a more figurative way of working, before moving on to make large–scale ceramic vessels using a rough mix of clay and newspaper. During the nineties, King spent long periods working in Japan, learning to make ceramics on a very large scale. In later years, he returned to using colour in his work, covering solid forms with dry pigments and allowing them to drift, making free–formed shapes. Over the course of his career King has worked in a variety of different media including ceramic, steel, plaster, wood and, plastics and PVC. King's larger constructivist forms have incorporated a sophisticated and highly personal use of colour and a poetic, even lyrical, use of form that belie their materials.

Phillip King

Born: 1934

Other Artworks by Phillip King at CASS

2007

Sun and Moon

At the beginning of his career, Phillip King was celebrated for his abstract compositions. Sun and Moon elaborates upon …

2008

Sun's Roots II

Sun’s Roots II is another work of King’s that returns to his early works formal concern with the use of bold colour to d…

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