Artist Richard Deacon

Richard Deacon

Bangor, Wales, UK, 1949. Based in London

Richard Deacon is one of the most important contemporary British sculptors, whose work is originated in the early 1980s. A work that rejects the heroic formalism and sometimes oppressive monumentality of the previous generation, in favor of an interest in forms and objects reminiscent of everyday situations and accidental events.
Known for an impressive and sometimes unexpected use of various materials (wood, cement, steel, iron, polycarbonate, vinyl, clay, leather, foam, ceramic and marble), the works of Richard Deacon are characterized by voluptuous and sinuous abstract forms.
A refined virtuosity accompanies every one of its construction: curves, twists, bends, turns and looping curves cross the space like three-dimensional drawings, others hover on the floor like large drops of liquid. The shapes he creates evoke the material world of everyday artifacts and the inner world of the body, such as frames or thoracic cages, but in reality during his career Deacon pushed and challenged the materials he used managing to do his job something that looks like nothing else.
The monumental sculptures by Richard Deacon explore the nature of opposites, questioning some essential but contradictory elements: hardness and malleability, organic and geometric, grace and unease. Often it is the tension between the two aspects, the unusual shape, the casing - like a superficial skin that is at the same time a tangible work and an alien form, that makes Deacon's art so surprising, mysterious, that it often asks more questions than how many it solves.
The choice of materials and their manipulation are fundamental for him; carefully chosen materials, which have to do with both form and content and thought.
In the work, behind the finished object, the construction and aspects of manufacture remain visible: the glue dripping between the layers of wood, the screws and rivets that protrude from the steel sheets, the hand-made carvings.
Deacon tends to use materials produced in sheets, concentrating on flexible, pliable materials, but not like clay and even less stone.

Richard Deacon was born in Bangor, Wales, UK in 1949 and lives and works in London, UK. He has a BA from St Martin’s School of Art, London, UK (1972) and an MA in Environmental Media from the Royal College of Art, London, UK (1977). Solo exhibitions include Middelheim Museum, Antwerp, Belgium (2017); San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA, USA (2017); Prague City Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic (2017); Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany (2016), Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2015); Tate Britain, London, UK (2014); Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany (2011); Musée de la Ville de Strasbourg, France (2010); Portland Art Museum, Oregon, USA (2008); PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, USA (2001); MACCSI, Caracas, Venezuela (1996); Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, UK (1989) and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA (1988). He represented Wales at the Venice Biennale, Italy (2007) and has participated in the Venice Architecture Biennale, Italy (2012), Glasgow International, UK (2006) and documenta 9, Kassel, Germany (1992). He won the Turner Prize in 1987 and the Robert Jakobsen Prize, Museum Wurth, Kunzelsau, Germany in 1995. He was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the Ministry of Culture, France in 1996 and made a CBE in 1999.