Phillip King died on the 27th July, he was 87 years old. He has been an inspiration for more than half a decade. In 1956 he attended St. Martins where Anthony Caro was the main man, within a year he was on the teaching staff. He was an integral member of the 'New Generation', a group of British artists forging a new sculptural language in the 1960's. His trajectory was set, an illustrious career unfolded, an international reputation, exhibiting worldwide, sculpture in all the major collections, President of the Royal Academy, Professor Emeritus at the Royal College of Art, Trustee of the Tate and the National Portrait Gallery and so on, all the trappings. He is considered by many to be one of the most important British artists of the past half century.
King entered my world in 1963, the Studio International arrived on my doorstep and Genghis Khan blew me away, the first sculpture of the 'New Generation' that stirred my novice imagination. The segmented cones of this time were intriguing and challenging works but Rosebud was a work of genius, sublime in colour and form, a truly poetic and contemplative piece of sculpture, eventually finding it's way to Moma in New York.
Throughout his long career he challenged our perceptions, endlessly innovating, constantly using new and often untried materials, great work was produced, his intellectual rigour and humanity lifted him from the ranks of his contemporaries. Rosebud and Genghis Khan caught me at a particularly receptive moment, they imprinted themselves on my artistic psyche, they are everything I ever thought contemporary sculpture should be. A bright bulb has been extinguished and the room is slightly dimmer but his work will continue to show a way through.
AGED AND AWKWARD