Genghis Khan

1963
Plastic
213 x 294 x 366 cm
Edition of 3

In the early 1960s King began reinventing his work. Looking towards American Abstract Expressionism, King felt sculpture had failed to keep up with painting. He embarked upon a series of work which used an upwards–pointing cone as its starting point, which he appreciated for its self–contained nature of form. Using simple modifications, such as strong colours, slits, and, in this case, the addition of ‘antlers’ or ‘wings,’ King began to make radically new works that shocked viewers. He said of his work “I want people to stand aghast for a second, and I hope they’ll do it again with my best work.” Exhibited in 1968 in the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Genghis Khan is, according to King “more to do with confrontation, not representation.”

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About The Artist

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.

Phillip King

Born: 1934

Other Artworks by Phillip King at CASS

2007

Sun and Moon

At the beginning of his career, Phillip King was celebrated for his abstract compositions. Sun and Moon elaborates upon …

2008

Sun's Roots II

Sun’s Roots II is another work of King’s that returns to his early works formal concern with the use of bold colour to d…

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