'Battersea II' is an exceptional large aluminium sculpture by Geoffrey Clarke. Conceived as a series of three works for the London County Council's Open Air exhibitions at Battersea Park in 1962 they were first titled as 'Reclining Forms'. 'Battersea I' is in the collection of Loughborough University and a set of maquettes resides at the Leeds Museums and Art Galleries.
Geoffrey Clarke was a pioneer in a golden age of British sculpture and his fearless experimentation with new materials and processes saw him create works that epitomise the vibrancy of the post-war British art scene. Clarke first stood out whilst studying Stained Glass at the Royal College of Art and this led him to be chosen to work on one of the UK’s most important public commissions of the era, the windows of Coventry Cathedral. He attended the same welding course as Lynn Chadwick and Reg Butler but it was his tireless development of casting in aluminium that made his name.
Experimenting with polystyrene, a relatively new material in the 50s, Clarke discovered that he could make his models in polystyrene and use them for direct casting. His discovery coincided with a glut of public commissions throughout the country and due to the comparable inexpensiveness of aluminium to bronze, its lighter weight and Clarke’s ability to cast it himself, Clarke was able to take full advantage to become one of the most commissioned British sculptors of the twentieth century.
Geoffrey Clarke was born in Derbyshire to parents who encouraged his early artistic instincts. His father was an architect and an etcher with his own press which Clarke was encouraged to use, later becoming a talented printmaker in his own right. After studying at Preston School of Art and Manchester School of Art, Clarke served in the War with the RAF. He returned to his studies at Lancaster and Morecambe School of Arts and Crafts before moving to the Royal College of Art. Clarke’s first solo show was held at Gimpel Fils Gallery, London, in 1952, the same year in which his work was included in the Venice Biennale.
In 1965, he had a major retrospective at the Redfern Gallery, London and his work was included in British Sculpture in the 1960s exhibition at the Tate Gallery. He was selected for British Sculptors ‘72 curated by Bryan Kneale at the Royal Academy of Arts and for British Sculpture in the Twentieth Century at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1981. His work is held in many prestigious public and private collections around the world. Pangolin London represents the estate of Geoffrey Clarke.