07. Cader Idris and the City of a Thousand Trades

ergo: “Are finely wrought, and by the Artists sold, / Whose touch turns every Metal into Gold”

“It’s as though the artist is literally trying to deconstruct the avant garde tradition in which he was trained to find a point of contact with popular history.”

– Terry Grimley, Birmingham Post

1989 Ikon Gallery, Birmingham

1990 Sketchbook (David Cox)

1990 ‘Cader Idris – Horizon Line’, Central Lending Library, Birmingham

George T. Noszlopy: ‘Public Sculpture of Birmingham: 2’ (Public Sculpture of Britain), Liverpool University Press, 1998

Image: Diana Phillips 29 November 2008

Images: David Rowan, 2016

…your ‘demise’ strategies for the ‘Cader Idris Horizon Line’, and how these might inform Birmingham’s policy on decommissioning, will also find parallels with Rauschenberg’s ‘Erased de Kooning Drawing’ of 1953. 

As Robert Rauschenberg once said, “It had to begin as art, so it has to be a de Kooning.” It certainly couldn’t look like the William Ellis oil painting of Cader Idris from the 1889 exhibition at the RBSA that I included in the Ikon show a 100 years later. It had to be a de Kooning for exactly the same reasons Rauschenberg articulated some years earlier: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpCWh3IFtDQ&app=desktop

“The young artist was engaged in a symbolic act of generational and Oedipal murder, at once comic and deadly serious. He was doing so in the joking language of Dada, a movement that did not respect the sanctity of the art object or celebrate the romantic passion of de Kooning’s generation. Rauschenberg would retain much of de Kooning for the future—his rude American vitality, his open-endedness, and his devotion to a process of permutation and change—but Rauschenberg had to escape from the air of Old World connoisseurship and private touch that was inevitably a part of a de Kooning drawing. Rauschenberg could not make conventional “drawings” or “paintings,” much as he loved them, because he did not believe they contained the contemporary truth. He had to erase that part of de Kooning.”

– Mark Stevens & Annalyn Swan: ‘de Kooning: An American Master’, Knopf Publishing Group, 2004

PDF: 2015 Ally Standing | Cader Idris Notes

PDF: 2016 Ally Standing ‘Unpacking Cader Idris’

PDF: 1989 Studio | Cader Idris

PDF: Ikon Gallery | Colour View 1989

PDF: Cader Idris | IKON Catalogue

PDF: Cader Idris | Exhibition Guide

PDF: Cader Idris | IKON Press Release

PDF: 100 Birmingham Sketchbooks (1987)

PDF: Léger’s ‘The Grand Parade’

PDF: AJ | Cader Idris 1989

1985-1987 City of a Thousand Trades, Bell Street Passage (Public Art Collective)

PDF: Birmingham 1988

PDF: 1985 ‘1000 Hammers’ Bell Street Passage

PDF: Bell Street Passage | ©Luke Unsworth

LINK: West Midlands Public Art Collective

PDF: 1990 Jane Kelly’s Black Paintings

PDF: Will Alsop’s Hands 2006