Sculpture in the Workplace – Phillip King Sculpture

30 March – 29 May 2009
Lobby, One Canada Square & Jubilee Park
Canary Wharf, London E14

Lobby of One Canada Square: Monday to Friday 5.30am – midnight
Saturday & Sunday 7am – 11.30pm
Jubilee Park: Monday to Sunday daylight hours
Tube/DLR: Canary Wharf

Fire King No 2, Plop, the Frog Jumps, 1989-90 Spring-a-Ling, 1983
Photographs courtesy of the artist

Canary Wharf Group is launching its latest Sculpture in the Workplace exhibition, Phillip King Sculpture, in the Lobby of One Canada Square and in Jubilee Park on 30 March.

Now and then it is useful to stop and look back at sculpture made over a period of recent history. Often we are surprised by the vigour, variety, and relevance that the work of senior artists has in the context of new practice – as well as their own current thinking – in the art of today. This exhibition of sculpture by Phillip King, celebrated as one of Britain’s most significant artists and as an influential teacher with a long and distinguished career, covers a period of four decades to the end of the 1990s. The exhibition is to be shown concurrently in both the Lobby of One Canada Square and in Jubilee Park.

King came to prominence in the 1960s as a young sculptor, taught by Anthony Caro in the hey-day of sculpture at St Martin’s School of Art (now Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design). Known for his innovation, King has continually searched for new modes of expression and materials, while also using familiar materials differently. “King is the one sculptor of his generation prepared to jettison what he has proved himself good at in order to explore what cannot be programmed,” wrote the art critic William Feaver, in the Observer in 1992.

This exhibition proves Feaver’s point, as the selection of sculpture shows dramatic transitions from work made in concrete and fibreglass to abstract pieces in painted steel, figurative bronzes, and ceramic. A particular feature of the exhibition is King’s series of ‘Fire King’ sculptures, made in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These narrative pieces, expressively made, and at times playful, are in dramatic contrast with his early abstract sculptures in concrete and fibreglass, made whilst a student at the Royal College of Art – where he was later Professor of Sculpture. The latest work in this selection is a large ceramic, The Archer of 1996, which King had made in Britain after working in Japan with a ceramic artist. These are shown in the Lobby of One Canada Square.

In Jubilee Park, however, there are pieces that show a further aspect of King’s portfolio. Here are large, abstract sculptures in welded and painted steel. Some are highly coloured, others of muted tones; all are a testament to an artist of sustained vision, wit and intellect.

Notes to Editor:

1) Media and the public are invited to join the artist and curator in conversation on Tuesday 7 April at 1.15pm in the Lobby of One Canada Square. Please call 020 7418 2257 to book a place.

2) Images of the exhibition are available on request, together with a leaflet with text by curator Ann Elliott.

3) About Phillip King
Phillip King was born in Tunisia in 1934, and came to Britain in 1945. He studied modern languages at Christ’s College, Cambridge (1954-57), where he began to make sculpture. King then studied sculpture at St Martins School of Art (1957-58) as Anthony Caro was teaching there. He taught at St Martins (1959-80), and was an assistant to Henry Moore (1959-60), which gave him the opportunity of working on a larger scale. His long experience as a teacher at St Martins; the Slade School of Fine Art (1967-68); and as Professor at the Royal College of Art (1980-90) and Royal Academy Schools (1990-99) kept him in constant touch with young artists and their thinking in the visual arts.

King has exhibited widely, gaining a significant international reputation in Europe, Japan and the United States, and most recently in China. In 1997 he was the second British sculptor to have been awarded a retrospective exhibition at the Forte de Belvedere in Florence, the first being Henry Moore in 1972. He was awarded the CBE in 1974, and was elected President of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1999, retiring in 2004 to work full time on his sculpture.

Phillip King is represented by the Bernard Jacobson Gallery,

3) Canary Wharf Group’s public art programme
The prime business function of CWG is the building and leasing of Grade A office and retail space at its 97 acre estate in East London (“the Estate”). CWG has a dedicated public art programme; commissions include a light installation by Martin Richman, railings by Bruce McLean, floor works by Emma Biggs, sculptural works by Ron Arad, Danny Lane and Wendy Ramshaw and a series of photographic lightboxes by Catherine Yass.

The ‘Sculpture in the Workplace’ exhibition programme in the Lobby of One Canada Square and Jubilee Park is curated for CWG by Ann Elliott. Past exhibitors include Dan Graham, Keir Smith, Lynn Chadwick, Ivor Abrahams, Laura Ford, Phyllida Barlow, Franz West, Keith Wilson, Andrew Sabin, Grenville Davey and Andrew Burton.