Master Class: Richard Deacon

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Master Class: Richard Deacon
Richard Deacon Photo by John D Adams


An artist-led professional development programme for eight UK-based, early-career artists, Master Class includes talks given by guest tutors, which are open to the public.

Richard Deacon
discusses his remarkable career and his constantly evolving sculptural practice, through which he explores and experiments with material and language. Since the 1980s, Deacon’s abstract forms have placed him at the forefront of British sculpture. His appetite for material has embraced laminated wood, stainless steel, corrugated iron, polycarbonate, marble, clay, vinyl, foam and leather. Deacon describes himself as a ‘fabricator’, often exposing the construction behind the finished object: glue oozing between layers of wood, or screws and rivets protruding from sheets of steel. Such transparency highlights the reactive nature of the process: it is part of a two-way conversation between artist and material that transforms the workaday into something metaphorical. The idea of ‘fabrication’ also denotes making something up, of fiction rather than truth, and this knack for wordplay surfaces in Deacon’s titles, which might establish juxtapositions or reveal new meaning from familiar sayings or clichés.

Doors open from 6:30pm. Talk from 7pm-8:30pm.

Richard Deacon was born in Bangor, Wales, UK in 1949 and lives and works in London, UK. He has a BA from St Martin’s School of Art, London, UK (1972) and an MA in Environmental Media from the Royal College of Art, London, UK (1977). Solo exhibitions include Kula Gallery and the Museum of Fine Arts, Split, Croatia (2021); Middelheim Museum, Antwerp, Belgium (2017); San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA, USA (2017); Prague City Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic (2017); Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany (2016), Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2015); Tate Britain, London, UK (2014); Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany (2011); Musée de la Ville de Strasbourg, France (2010); Portland Art Museum, Oregon, USA (2008); PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, USA (2001); MACCSI, Caracas, Venezuela (1996); Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, UK (1989) and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA (1988). He represented Wales at the Venice Biennale, Italy (2007) and has participated in the Venice Architecture Biennale, Italy (2012), Glasgow International, UK (2006) and documenta 9, Kassel, Germany (1992). He won the Turner Prize in 1987 and the Robert Jakobsen Prize, Museum Wurth, Kunzelsau, Germany in 1995. He was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the Ministry of Culture, France in 1996 and made a CBE in 1999.