In celebration of Smithson Plaza’s 1960s heritage, three works by octogenarian British artist David Annesley were selected to be installed at the site for over a year from September 2019. Annesley’s intriguing colourful sculptures found a fitting home in Alison and Peter Smithson’s plaza, all dating from the 1960s.
The three pieces which were on display – Godroon, 1966; Untitled, 1969; and Untitled, 1969, created from wafer-thin painted aluminium and steel, capture Annesley’s distinct approach to sculpture-making. The works were revolutionary at that time and continue to retain their visual impact.
In these works, fluid, geometric structures are used by Annesley as vehicles to explore colour relationships, relative to space and movement. Two works here combine several metal rings and share a common centre, with subsequent aluminium elements appearing as if suspended within the structure.
Annesley’s distinctive approach to sculpture, his open metal forms and use of fluid lines, can be much attributed to his physical experience of flying as an RAF pilot in the 1950s. The rotational symmetry of the suspended circular forms relate closely to the aerobatics and inverted manoeuvres, such as loops and rolls, that Annesley once performed.
Casts of two of the three sculptures that were on display in Smithson Plaza form part of the Tate Collection and an edition of Godroon is displayed at Tate St Ives in Cornwall.