Richard Deacon

Biography of Richard Deacon

Turner Prize winner and key figure in British sculpture since the 1980s, Richard Deacon’s monumental abstract forms have achieved high acclaim on an international scale. With an insatiable appetite for material, the artist has been known to mediate between laminated wood, steel, corrugated iron, marble, clay, vinyl, foam, leather and more. Considering himself as a “fabricator” rather than a mere sculptor, Richard Deacon urges the importance of the construction process and the conversation he engages with his chosen materials, as oppose to concentrating on the finalized object.


Born in Bangor, Wales, UK in 1949, the artist was quick to move to London to study at the prestigious St. Martin’s College of Art. Only a few years after holding his first one-man-show in a small space in Brixton, Richard Deacon was awarded the Turner Prize for his sculptural work For Those Who Have Eyes, 1983. A large-scale piece made of stainless steel and rivets, the organic curves of this work were influenced by parts of the human body and the way in which eyes, ears and mouths channel people’s perception of the world. This would inspire an extensive series of similar works, all executed with the utmost control and elegance the artist has come to be known for.


Richard Deacon has also portrayed his fascination for the relation between materials, natural forms, positive and negative space through his works on paper. The interplay between the hollow and the convex, the curved and the straight are elements which are so crucial to his sculptural forms, but which surface in his lithographs alike. This has proven Richard Deacon’s impressive draughtsmanship and multi-faceted talent.


Richard Deacon has been the subject of solo exhibitions across a number of important institutions, namely the Tate Britain and the Whitechapel Gallery, both in London, the PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles among others. In 2007, the artist represented Wales at the Venice Biennale and has since also participated in the Venice Architecture Biennale and the documenta 9 in Kassel, Germany. Considered one of the most important living artists in Britain, in 1999 Richard Deacon was named a Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.

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