Richard Deacon

(b. 1949)

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(1949– )

British sculptor, born in Bangor, Wales. He studied at St Martin's School of Art, 1969–72, and the Royal College of Art, 1974–7. As a student, he was most interested in relating his sculpture to Performance. In 1978–9 he lived in New York, and after returning to London he held various teaching posts. He was one of the leading figures among the group of New British sculptors who emerged in the early 1980s and were preoccupied with metaphorical form. He often uses ribbons of laminated wood in layers, curved by steam treatment, sometimes allowing the glue to be seen oozing from the sides. This establishes a distinctive blend of the inorganic and the organic, as the shapes are both highly sensual and precisely balanced. Galvanized steel is another favoured material. Although abstract, his work has made reference to mythology. For instance, Falling on Deaf Ears No. 1 (1984) is a boat-like shape which recalls the tale of Odysseus, who blocked the ears of his companions with wax so that they would not be lured to their doom by the song of the sirens. In the UW840TC series (2001) planks of wood take on the forms of waves. (The meaning of the title is revealed when it is spoken.)

Further Reading

R. Francis, Richard Deacon (1985)

Subjects: Art.

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