Phillip King was born in Tunis in 1934. He studied Modern Languages at Christ’s College, Cambridge from 1954–57, and sculpture at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London, from 1957–58; where Anthony Caro was teaching at the time. Following his studies, King spent a year working as an assistant to Henry Moore and teaching at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London. King lives and works in London.
A selection of solo and group exhibitions have been held at: Kistefos Museet Sculpture Park, Norway; Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy; Thomas Dane Gallery, London; Ranelagh Gardens, Royal Hospital Chelsea, London; Duveen Galleries, Tate Britain; Le Consortium; Speerstra Foundation, Apples; Flowers Cork Street, London; Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London; New Generation Revisted, New Art Centre, Salisbury (2008); Bernard Jacobsen Gallery, London; Bad Homburg Kurpark; Hayward Gallery; Jesus College, Cambridge; Place Gallery. King was awarded the CBE in 1974, and in 1990 was made a Royal Academician and Professor Emeritus at the Royal College of Art. In 1999 King was elected President of the Royal Academy. Phillip King is one of the most significant living British sculptors. His work was included in the seminal Primary Structures exhibition at Jewish Museum, New York in 1966 along side Andre, Caro, Flavin, Judd, Morris and Smithson amongst others. King represented Great Britain at the 1968 Venice Biennale (with Bridget Riley).
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.