Richard Deacon

Add & Subtract
June 27–August 15, 2009

On Friday, June 26, 2009, from 7 to 9 pm, Galerie Thomas Schulte opens Add & Subtract, an exhibition showing new sculptures and wall drawings by British sculptor Richard Deacon, who celebrates his sixtieth birthday this summer. The artist will be present at the opening.

In Add & Subtract, his third solo show at Galerie Thomas Schulte, Richard Deacon presents two new wood sculptures, a steel sculpture, and large wall drawings. All three uses of different media continue Deacon’s subjects of exploring space, volume, material experience, dynamism, as well as combinatorics. They attest to his uncompromising search for the limits and possibilities of contemporary sculpture, without taking recourse to an expansion of the concept.

Deacon’s two new wood sculptures are quite pointedly opposite. If the formal corpus of Still Water(Talking the Talk) is quite dense, with strongly closed structures, in the second sculpture already the title Walking the Walk refers to the concept that expands in the space. In older wood sculptures as well, as in the voluminous work How Much Does Your Mind Weigh with its open serial structure, which Deacon presented in the corner space at Galerie Thomas Schulte in 2007, the beholder is included in the free structure and involved in its movement.
Still Water(Talking the Talk), in contrast, remains much more autonomous, and preserves a distance to the beholder, always remaining an object for the perceiving subject. All the same, the beholders clearly sense themselves in the force field between the sculpture and the surrounding space, and walking around the object search for views inside or through the object and the inner spaces enclosed by the sculpture as immaterial shapes, and for an immanent principle of order.

In the exhibition situation, the steel sculpture Siamese Metal #4 and these wall drawings, reflecting in their two dimensionality, with their permeable, amorphous structures seem to serve as mediators between the wood sculptures, between Still Water(Talking the Talk)—which suppresses space—and Walking the Walk, which appears almost in a process of dissolution.

Deacon’s sculptures capture in form the struggle between chaos and order, between formlessness and rigorous structure, and are the result of his work with material-immanent processes of tension in his preferred materials, steel, copper, glass, plastic, ceramics, and wood. Walking the Walk could thus be read as a liberation of the wooden rods still held together by metal-covered lattices in Still Water(Talking the Talk), twisted and bent against one another. It remains unclear in which “direction” the two sculptures should be read and it remains an open question whether order results from chaos or chaos from order.

Artist Profile

Artist Profile Richard Deacon