Richard Deacon. The Missing Part

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Strasbourg
June 5th - September 19th 2010

The Missing Part exhibition, curated by Joëlle Pijaudier-Cabot and Estelle Pietrzyk and designed in close collaboration with the artist, is a retrospective of 40 years of his work shown here for the first time as an assemblage of approximately forty sculptures and some 120 drawings, engravings and photographs. Appearing on the English scene as a promising young sculptor in the early 1980’s, Richard Deacon quickly made a name for himself as a artist deeply committed to material. He works with ceramics, metal, wood, resin, paper, glass, plastic, leather and cloth and is a self-proclaimed fabricator. His sculptures never seek to hide technical operations behind them, including assemblage, riveting, torsion, stretching, folding or strapping… The creator of approximately thirty monumental-sized sculptures designed for urban or natural settings, Richard Deacon has also produced a multitude of medium-sized sculptures, works ranging from the human body’s scale to workshop height and smaller formats. His pieces are a direct invitation into the physical experience of sculpted object and a sensitive approach to material, their modes of fabrication and setting.

The sculptures’ forms suggest a biomorphic universe laden with sensuality, close to that of Arp’s. While oftentimes resonating with the register of organic life, they are also marked by a rigor that is intensely minimalist and materialist. The mobility and fluidity of Deacon’s forms envelop the spectator in a choreography of instability where enigma and metamorphoses, echoed by poetic titles, give image to the world’s complexity and relativity to our perceptions and knowledge. According to the artist “Not knowing is a good state of art”.

The exhibition brings together nearly forty sculptures, the product of 40 years of work of an amazing continuity. This is also a first-time presentation of his student work completed at Saint Martins College of Art and the Royal College of Art, sculptures, drawings, photographs and texts documenting performances; a tribute to the conceptual anchoring inside Deacon’s work and his attention to the creative process. Finally we see the important role drawing plays in Deacon’s creation, always central to the artist’s sculptural research, as for his photography.

Images, from above:
Kiss and Tell, 1989. London, Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre. Photo: Sue Ormerod
Don't Want, March 1969. Performance, 21. Artist’s collection. Photo : Richard Deacon
Kind of Blue A, 2001. London, Arts Council Collection, , Southbank Centre. Photo: Andrew Whittuck, London
Herne Hill #1, 2001. Artist’s collection. Photo: Ken Adlard
North - Fruit, 2007. Artist’s collection. Photo: Hans Ole Madsen (Ottesen Galleri)
Infinity 32, 2007. Private collection. Photo: Werner J. Hannappel

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