Wednesday 30 April 2014

Richard Deacon

Richard Deacon, at Tate Britain.

Richard Deacon is known for his open forms and his interest in materials and their manipulation. His sculptures explore the interface between interior and exterior, surface and edge, form and image.  He combines organic forms with elements of engineering, employing materials ranging from laminated wood and polycarbonate to leather, cloth and ceramic. He refers to himself as a fabricator to distinguish his working methods from those of the carver and modeller and his work is indeed not constructed in the manner of traditional sculpture, but instead it's built up from many parts into a complex form, constructed with precision. His work does not look like anything else.

Intrigued by the process of sculpture, he is happy for people to make of the result what they will: 'I don't think there is ever someone who 'gets it'. I don't get it particularly.... I hope people get pleasure from the work'.

Orpheus When There's Singing, 1978-79, (pastel and pencil on paper)

Struck Dumb, 1988

Struck Dumb was made at Govan Shipbuilders in Glasgow.

Art for Other People, no. 12, 1984 (marble and leather)

This series began in 1982 and was intended for domestic spaces.

Art for Other People. No. 6, 1983, (suede and brass)

After, 1998 (wood, stainless steel, aluminium and resin)
Constructed from multiple smaller components, a balance between volume and shape, this piece is neither carved nor modelled in the manner of traditional sculpture, but instead, methodically built up from many parts.  The wooden tubes are sections of the same curve; their change of angle from one section to the next gives the work a dynamic, writhing quality. The woven stainless steel straps linking the ends, draws them together.

looking closer

Two by Two, 2010, (galvanised and stainless steel)

Our of Order,  2003 (oak and stainless steel)
Ribbons of steamed oak, arranged in such a way that they twist and corkscrew on the gallery floor.


a different view

looking closer

looking closer


and again.

I did not manage to get the titles for the sculptures below:




  1. I love the materiality of Deacon's work, and the great play of the spaces within and between the constructed elements. Thank you for these photos, as we were not able to get to the exhibition. His work is not one of my great loves, but I do always enjoy seeing it. I particularly like the drawings you show - I had not seen them before.

    1. It was a very rushed visit Olga, as we did not have much time, but I thought that a quick viewing was better than nothing, so I'm glad we did that. I wish I'd spent more time with the drawings, but the large sculptures demand attention first, and then the gallery was closing....