Royal Academician Richard Deacon challenges the idea that ‘the whole is more the sum of its parts’ in an exhibition of recent sculptures at the Lisson Gallery.
The geometric constructions on view are all comprised of a series of smaller polygonal components that assert their integrity within each structure.
Left: Richard Deacon RA, 'Alphabet E', 2011. Aluminium, © the artist; Courtesy Lisson Gallery, London. Right: Richard Deacon RA, 'Alphabet G', 2011. Aluminium, © the artist; Courtesy Lisson Gallery, London.
In Alphabet E and Alphabet G (both 2011), thin metal frames of simple rectilinear shapes coalesce against the wall into a dynamic form, but the frames’ individual interior hollows and angles are what animate the eye. A work in the same series, Alphabet F, is a similar arrangement that has been flipped over, so that the bolts that bind the prefabricated frames together are exposed, reaffirming the distinct parts and the process of their construction.
Richard Deacon RA, 'Congregate', 2011. Stainless steel, © the artist; Courtesy, Lisson Gallery, London.
The aesthetic of this series is expanded into three dimensions with Congregate (2011), a skeleton of eight polygonal structures presented outside in the gallery’s courtyard. This complex of interlocking struts allows for a multitude of possible visual perspectives, inviting the viewer to continually walk around its form. The stainless steel surface of this work has also been treated so that it appears to have a texture akin to brushstrokes.
Richard Deacon, 'Association', Installation view. Works from Left to Right: 'Fold', 2012; 'Alphabet G', 2011; 'Alphabet F', 2011; 'Alphabet E', 2011. Lisson Gallery, London, 2012. ©the artist; Courtesy, Lisson Gallery, London
A similar attention to surface can be seen in Deacon’s monumental piece Fold (2012), a four-metre-high wall formed from stacks of ceramic polyhedrons. They are covered uniformly with a dark-green glaze more commonly seen adorning small bowls or tiles; this rich surface appears impenetrable – almost oppressive – when rendered at such an unusually large scale.
- 'Richard Deacon Association' is at the Lisson Gallery
until 23 June 2012
Sam Phillips is a London-based arts journalist and contributor to RA Magazine