Barry Flanagan (b. 1941, Prestatyn, North Wales; d. 2009, Ibiza, Spain) is of Britain’s major sculptors, Barry Flanagan was born in Prestatyn, North Wales, in 1941, to a family of music hall performers. He graduated from St Martin’s School of Art in London in 1966, where he had already established his reputation as a leading figure of the avant-garde, a writer of concrete poetry and a ’pataphysician, espousing Alfred Jarry’s ‘science of imaginary solutions’. His first solo exhibition was held at Rowan Gallery, London, in the same year. He quickly received international critical acclaim for his intuitive and inventive approach to materials, which aligned him with new art practices and the emergent art movements of Arte Povera, Land Art and Process Art. Flanagan was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts and awarded an OBE in 1991.
Flanagan was included in the important exhibitions of the 1960s, particularly When Attitudes Become Form at the Kunsthalle Bern in 1969. From 1972, following the release of George Ewart Evans and David Thomson’s book The Leaping Hare reassessing the function of public sculpture, Flanagan began to explore more traditional materials and methods, working with stone and bronze, for which he is now best known. He was drawn to the hare for its anthropomorphic potential and rich cultural iconography and his hares have become established as popular landmarks in cities and landscapes worldwide. Today, Flanagan’s characterful bronze hares can be found displayed in numerous public spaces across the world.
Flanagan has been awarded several major surveys at museums worldwide, including a retrospective at Fundación ‘La Caixa’ Madrid in 1993, touring to Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes in 1994; at Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Germany, in 2002, touring to Musée d’art moderne et d’art contemporain, Nice; at Irish Museum of Modern Art in collaboration with The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin, in 2006, which included an exhibition of large scale sculptures on O’Connell Street; a retrospective entitled Barry Flanagan: Early works 1965–1982 at Tate Britain in 2011–12.
In 2012 Chatsworth House hosted an outdoor exhibition of Flanagan’s monumental bronze sculptures in collaboration with Sotheby’s. The first comprehensive monograph on Barry Flanagan was published last year in 2017 by Waddington Custot in association with The Estate of Barry Flanagan. In 2018, Paul Kasmin Gallery held a survey of Flanagan’s bronze sculptures in New York. Last year, in 2019, IKON Gallery in Birmingham presented a major retrospective of the artist, filling the entire two floors of exhibition space. The exhibition comprised of iconic works from the Estate of Barry Flanagan, Tate, The Arts Council Collection and Southampton City Gallery.Read more
Barry Flanagan | Composition, 2008 | Installation at Frieze Sculpture 20193 July - 6 October 2019
Barry Flanagan: Alchemy of the Theatre
Alchemy of the Theatre explores the theatrical elements of Barry Flanagan’s sculptures, from their dramatic conception, to the performances of the hares to reflect human experience.Read more