Barry Flanagan (b. 1941, Prestatyn, North Wales; d. 2009, Ibiza, Spain) is one 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. 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.
The Estate of Barry Flanagan is represented worldwide by Waddington Custot.Read more
Barry Flanagan and BronzeA decades-long collaboration between the Welsh sculptor and an east London bronze casting foundry
Mayfair Sculpture Trail opens today
For one month from 1 October, Mayfair Sculpture Trail sees a collection of artworks installed on the streets of Mayfair for the public to explore. Waddington Custot presents monumental sculptures by David Annesley, Barry Flanagan and Pablo Reinoso.Read more
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Art: 5 of the BestGuardian Guide, March 5 2020
Barry Flanagan’s flying hares leap into Waddington CustotFT How to Spend It , February 4 2020
Barry FlanaganStudio International, October 15 2019
The sparkling heritage of British art schoolsFT Weekend, September 28 2019
The best art exhibitions in summer 2019Prospect, July 18 2019
Frieze SculptureFinancial Times, July 13 2019
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London's Largest Free Outdoor Sculpture Display Now Open In Regent's ParkForbes, July 5 2019
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Exhibitions and Art Fairs
While renowned sculptors often rise to prominence with large-scale – sometimes monumental – pieces, many also work on an altogether more human measure. This digital presentation includes a variety of intriguing small-scale sculptures, from pieces that deliberately engage with human proportions designed for domestic settings, to hand-made models and maquettes that respond to larger sculptures, often giving rise to new ones.
Many of the works have component parts such as handles, or curves and indentations, of which the size is recognisably intended to fit into the human hand or to create a dialogue with the body. These sculptures not only retain, but condense to great effect, the ambition, concept and scope of the artists’ larger scale work.
The works in this group presentation demonstrate the translation of drawing into the three-dimensional; towering monumental installations protrude from the walls, and curl up from floors, while the negative space of the picture plane is variously architecturally structured, or revealed through light and shade.
The exhibition includes works by Peter Blake, Enrico Castellani, Michael Craig-Martin, Ian Davenport, Jean Dubuffet, Barry Flanagan, Peter Halley, Hans Hartung, Frank Stella and Bernar Venet among others.
One of Bernar Venet’s iconic Indeterminate Line sculptures, created in rolled steel, shows the French artist’s approach to conceptualising and configuring space.
Mgarap Bangke, a 2004 wall-based sculpture by Frank Stella, similarly towers in a tangle of industrial materials, which the artist has coerced into curving organic forms. Moulded sections of dark carbon fibre are supported by circular loops of unpainted stainless-steel tubing and geometric rails.
A new painting by Ian Davenport, titled Yellow and Purple (Double), is also displayed, portraying the artist's use of colour as a tool to delineate space through controlled movements of vibrant paint.
TEFAF Online New York 2020
A VIP preview runs online from 30–31 October, with the public opening dates from 1–4 November.
Waddington Custot has selected to show Barry Flanagan’s Hells Bells, one of the artist’s most celebrated renditions of the iconic ‘leaping hare’.
In this sculpture the hare takes a giant leap –ears aloft and limbs outstretched in a burst of youthful energy– over a steel lattice plinth which evokes a pyramid.
Art Basel Hong Kong
Our presentation includes works by Chu Teh-Chun, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Peter Blake, Ian Davenport, Jean Dubuffet, Barry Flanagan, Hans Hartung, Pierre Soulages and Fabienne Verdier.