Richard Deacon

Something Else
November 16, 2013 − February 1, 2014

After the group exhibition, THOUGHT, last spring, Galerie Thomas Schulte is pleased to present a solo exhibition with new works by British sculptor Richard Deacon. As of Friday, 15th of November 2013, a group of new sculptures as well as wall reliefs and drawings will be on view.

Richard Deacon is one of the most important sculptors of his generation, consistently inventive in his work. From an early stage in his career, Deacon experimented with different media and forms of expression, ranging from performance and photography to drawing. At the beginning of the 1980s Deacon belonged to a group of young artists, who, in an engagement with minimalism, re-invigorated contemporary sculpture. Deacon’s sculptural work is characterized by his use of a wide range of materials, including laminated plywood, concrete, stainless steel, and clay. His sculptures capture our attention as complex lineaments, rhythmic webs or biomorphous spatial bodies and animate us to engage in intense perception of their characteristic saturation of form, surface, and space. The dealing with positive and negative form and the understanding that sculpture is not only defined by surface but rather by interspaces are at the very core of his work. Depending on the location, the insights, perspectives, and views provided allow the “empty space” around the sculpture to come to the forefront as immaterial form, equal in status to the material.

The new works, presented in the exhibition, Something Else, continue Deacon’s subjects of exploring space, volume, material experience, dynamism, as well as combinatorics. Deacon writes: “A lot of things start with very particular frustrations – although I’m not sure I would recommend it as a creative process. A couple of years ago I had been looking at some samples of textured stainless steel panels and thought that the material could be interesting to work with – the metal was quite thin, really only a product for facing a surface, but I reasoned that folding would give it strength. I had been working on some cardboard models of solids that I thought could translate into slightly larger works where just the vertices of the solids were put together into a skeletal framework. The company supplying the material however turned out to be difficult to work with and not at all interested in supplying the two or three sheets I wanted. However, we eventually got them and, rather than facing the hassle of potentially re-ordering, decided to make full size version in mild steel to ensure that the cutting made the best use of the available stainless steel. The stainless steel version worked out fine but I was not really inspired to pursue it further. The mild steel version was in the workshop and, rather than let it rust, Gary at Twin Engineering suggested that, since it was quite easy to handle, it would be perfect for a powder-coat finish (baked on enamel) and it would give us a chance to see what a local firm could do. I chose one of the brightest colours on the chart – a vivid yellow – and the work went to the painter. The result was terrific, bright, clear and, as an object, somewhat ethereal. The title, Let’s Call It Something Else, reflects that transition – it was something else you might say in a stoned sort of way – and I thought ‘That’s the way to go!’

“The resulting group of modestly scaled sculptures is shown for the first time at Galerie Thomas Schulte, six brightly coloured polygonal frameworks, all having that ‘something else’ as part of their title. The use of these skeletal frameworks originated in ceramic works when I began hollowing out (carving) formed lumps of clay and treating the result as a starting point for a larger ceramic or stainless steel work. What this new group has achieved for me is a transfer not so much of form but of an attitude to colour and surface that comes from the use of glaze on earlier ceramic pieces. Thinking about carving – the models for the most recent of these works were not made from cardboard but from lumps of marble picked up and cut down whilst I was working at the marble quarry in Arandjelovac, Serbia, this summer.

“Also in the show at Galerie Thomas Schulte are a group of three works from my Alphabet – this is a group of 26 drawings that I have been slowly working through. I’m not quite as inventive as I thought since I had originally intended to use different sheet materials or different folds in each individual case. There is an obvious connection between the polygonal cells of these wall reliefs and the forms within the steel frameworks – indeed the group of 26 drawings was made at the same time as I began hollowing out lumps of clay. It is surprising how the same preoccupation has travelled over the last few years, different strands moving apart or coming together in different ways as they do in this show. It’s always something else for me.”