The artist describes a memorable research trip to see Brancusi's 'Endless Column' in Romania.

In this extract from the National Life Stories, British sculptor Michael Lyons (b. 1943) recalls the journey he made in 1975, to Târgu Jiu in Romania to see Constantin Brancusi's ‘Endless Column' (1938). Lyons' interest in Brancusi was stimulated by the writings of Sidney Geist and William Tucker, and his admiration of the artist continues to this day.

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Michael Lyons, interviews by Ann Sproat, for the National Life Stories project Artists' Lives, 2011
Video credit: The British Library Board

The description of his visit is full of detail about the way of life in Romania at the time, along with observations on how the column looked in-situ compared with the published images of the work he had seen.

Lyons' own commitment to large-scale, steel sculpture for the open-air was fuelled by seeing Brancusi's work along with the sculpture of contemporary artists, such as David Smith and Anthony Caro.

In the full recording Michael talks about these influences, his life as a sculptor and teacher, and his public commissions in Britain, China, Canada and Germany.