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Richard Deacon

written by Penelope Clarrie Wallis

Tate Gallery | ISBN 9781849762250

Paperback – 128 pages

Part of the Tate Modern Artists series.


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Born in Bangor, Wales in 1949, Richard Deacon’s sculptural work has been at the forefront of the practice for the last thirty-five years. Deacon’s sculptures employ curvilinear forms made from a wide range of materials more traditionally associated with the manufacturing of industrial and domestic products. The works display both the method of construction and the craftsmanship involved in their making, through the surface details of screws and rivets, stitching or gluing used for material such as galvanised steel, corrugated iron, cloth, leather, linoleum and laminated wood. Attending St Martin’s School of Art between 1969 and 1972, Deacon began his career with performance-based work, such at Stuff Box Object, an experimental piece involving him climbing into a box, bolting himself inside, experiencing the interior space, climbing out and then working with plaster on the exterior of the box. The process was documented through photography and text, a part of Deacon’s practice that has continued throughout his métier. Since then he has produced a highly coherent and yet diverse body of work with sculpture which combines natural forms with an industrial sensibility, ranging from the domestic scale of his ongoing Art for Other People series to the monumental work for public commissions. Language and speech have played an important role in Deacon’s approach to his work: “I think of making things, structuring, as being an activity not unlike the power of speech, in that it is a means of giving shape - it’s obviously not in the same order as language, but it’s a means whereby the world, a chaotic universe, is actually made understandable.”

Artist: Richard Deacon

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