Magazine article Art Monthly

Richard Deacon and Bill Woodrow Bloomberg Space

Magazine article Art Monthly

Richard Deacon and Bill Woodrow Bloomberg Space

Article excerpt


Richard Deacon and Bill Woodrow Bloomberg Space London July 25 to September 21

Richard Deacon and Bill Woodrow have long been affiliated. They were grouped together initially in the early 1980s with artists including Tony Cragg and Anish Kapoor under the banner of the New British Sculpture, and since 1993 have worked together on their 'shared sculptures', a body of work made in collaboration. It is their latest series of shared pieces that make up this show at the Bloomberg Space.

With both artists having such significant careers as solo artists, when looking at their collaborative works it is intriguing to consider who has contributed what, or how they work as a team. Does one artist in particular tend to lead? Do they work together on all aspects of the works, or largely separately? It is unusual for two artists, who are known for working independently, to come together in such a way, and it becomes tempting to look for pieces that might be more obviously a Deacon, or others that suggest Woodrow more powerfully. Perhaps though, as Jon Wood suggests in the catalogue accompanying the exhibition, it is more apt to consider these artworks as the work of a third artist, some sort of fusion of Deacon and Woodrow. Certainly themes that have intrigued both artists--particularly an interest in craft techniques--are evident here.

The works are all made in glass, with the opening room of the space filled with a series of sculptures suggestive of landscape scenes. All are about the size and height of large coffee tables, held upright by pod-like 'legs' appearing to contain eggs. On the surface of four of the works is an angled plateau made of black glass accompanied by varying numbers of translucent green mammoths that traverse the minimalist scenes. The landscapes evoke a mixture of the ancient and the modern, with the shining perfection of the black glass at odds with the extinct mammoths. In the other three works that form this first series, the black glass and woolly mammoths are absent and the biomorphic pod formations are growing above as well as beneath the glass surface. Again the artists appear to be playing with the flexibility of glass to create weird and wonderful forms, with the shapes appearing at once like magnified drops of water and as objects from science fiction.

Deacon and Woodrow's careful description of their collaborative works as 'shared sculptures' suggests that the artists are conscious of the importance of how words are used in relation to their artworks. …

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