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AP1: research Richard Deacon

As my practice has been developing into a more sculptural driven one, I wanted to explore the work of Deacon with his interest in collections and large scale sculptures.

Richard Deacon, Personals, Ikon Gallery

Review of Ikon gallery exhibition:

Collections – geometric forms. Structures and objects – appear very ritualistic.

Museological tendencies - objects presented on wooden blocks on a shelf suspended by wire or gathered onto large box plinths. - allows the sculptures to be read as artefacts - precious - culturally significant

Deacon is also described as working in a similar way to sculptor Henry Moore in which he would gather objects such as flint, bones and stones to take back into his studio to use as reference when creating his sculpture.

This is an interesting way of creating their own personal archive but activating it in a way which is is used as the inspiration for work rather than the work itself. Element of geological interest ...

Like You Know, 2002, Glazed ceramic

Floor based sculptures function in different way - more contemporary and less constrained by the references of the museum - however still feel connected. These works seem more like the finalised outcomes while the other work functions more like sketches or maquettes.

Each object has a space and gathered pace. Making sense of objects when they are collected. Builds a conversation with one another

Material choice - ceramics, metals, clays - appear very traditional sculptural materials - exploited for their material properties. The highly glossy glaze on the ceramics allow them to be read more like a metallic or stone structure - has a great weight to them.

Deacon is also a self described 'fabricator' - literally meaning a person or company that makes something by assembling parts or sections; manufacturer. This idea of assembling parts is quite interesting as it removes the role of the artist as a creator and instead becomes more mundane and machine like.

Themes within his work

  • reciprocity and reflexivity

  • forms and function

  • playful

  • works appear functional

  • actionable - works appear like they can be walked through, swung on etc.

It is useful to explore his artwork in reference to my own to see the way the pieces are curated - such as the spaces around each piece and the difference in how they function when floor based or paired with some other kind of support such as a plinth.


Deacon, R., Thompson, J. and Thompson, J., 2000. Richard Deacon: What You See is What You Get. 1st ed. London: Phaidon Press.

Deacon, R., Watkins, J. and Curtis, P., 2007. Richard Deacon: Personals. 1st ed. Birmingham: Ikon Gallery.


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