Richard Deacon: New Sculpture

2018. 03. 17-05. 12

Beijing Commune is pleased to represent the British artist Richard Deacon, and present his first solo show in China, from 17th March to 12th May 2018. The exhibition is titled “New Sculpture”, which suggests that the artist attempts to develop new works from two categories of his on-going practice started several years ago. The two groups of works to be presented are from Custom series and New Alphabet series. Both of them explore the possibilities and associations embedded in each series of works, which allows the artist to bring out the richness of art making.

The artist positions himself as a fabricator, who is neither a carver nor a modeler. It is manufacturing or building skills that interests him most. Richard Deacon uses the concept of fabricator on various levels. A fabricator could be regarded as a constructor who put diverseand usually standardized parts together, while it could be also understood as a fantasist who is capable of making things up.

One group of works are called Custom. In 2012, Richard Deacon started splitting the stainless steel tube and building up complex shapes by joining sections of convex and concave curves together along their length. The word “Custom” could be associated with the American culture of “customizing”, where a standard model is modified, individualized and particularized. However, “Custom” as an English word is related to a broad range of meanings, including habit, border controls, social mores and sub-culture rituals. The two works made for Beijing Commune’s show continue to develop these ideas, one is titled Another Custom (2018) while the other is titled Fancy Custom (2018). “Fancy” essentially describes the muffled edge and decorative surface of the work, and the elaboration of an internal form. The English word “fancy” has multiple layers of meaning-a fancy cake or fancy dress are special things for a special occasion, “Fancy” can also mean to desire, or to imagine in everyday speech. “Another Custom” as well as being another of the same group, also identifies itself as different, as having been made in a different way.

Another group of works are called New Alphabet. Back to 2005, Richard Deacon finished a group of drawings developed from polygonal shapes sub-divided in a variety of ways. The artist realised that he had 26 drawings and collectively called the drawings Alphabet. Subsequently, Richard Deacon turned these into flat reliefs, using folded steel channel for the lines in the drawings. The artist started to think about combinations based on the shape and structure of the folded metal, together with the use of color. One combination was realized in a relief, one shape on top of another, in the commissioned work Rain Or Shine for the lobby of Building 4 in Raycom Technology Park in Beijing. Consequentially, the artist realised that a combination of three would have a large enough foot to have a sculpture that would stand in space and that there would be a two sided-ness to it. A group of these three-sided clusters are being shown for the first time at Beijing Commune. The artist’s choice of paint refers the process color. We can tell from the front that New Alphabet ABC (2018), New Alphabet DEF (2018), and New Alphabet JKL (2018) represent magenta, cyan, and black separately in the CMYK color model. In New Alphabet GHI (2018), yellow is replaced by a sort of clinical white, which distinguishes itself from the wall in a white cube space. If we walk around and look at the work from the back, we could observe the reflections along the skeleton of the stainless steel works.

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