BARRY FLANAGAN

 

Born in Prestatyn, United Kingdom,1941-2009

 

 

Barry Flanagan is best known for his bronze sculptures of hares. Flanagan started out as a minimalist sculptor working with sand, plaster, wood and rope.

 

Flanagan studied at Birmingham College of Art and Crafts before going on to St. Martin's School of Art in London in 1964. Between 1967 and 1971 he taught at St. Martin's School of Art and the Central School of Arts and Crafts. Flanagan represented Great Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1982. In 1991, Flanagan was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts and awarded an OBE.

 

Flanagan began to work in stone and bronze and in 1979 the first bronze hare was cast. Variously inspired by a carcass in a butcher's shop, the sight of a leaping hare in the Sussex Downs, the 1972 book The Leaping Hare, as well as its significance in world mythology, the hare is the central metaphor of Flanagan's life and work. Often anthropomorphised, the hares' expressions range from insouciance, through boredom and melancholia, as they drum, think, dance, box and leap. Peripatetic, Flanagan described himself as an English-speaking itinerant European sculptor.

Barry Flanagan participated in some of the most important exhibitions of the 1960s, notably When Attitudes Become Form at the Kunsthalle Bern and the ICA (1969).

 

A major retrospective was held at the Fundación 'La Caixa' Madrid in 1993. Flanagan's bronze hares have also been exhibited in many outdoor spaces, notably on Park Avenue in New York in 1995-6 and at Grant Park, Chicago in 1996. An exhibition was held at Tate Liverpool in 2000 and in 2002 a major exhibition of his work was shown at the Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Germany. 

 

In 2006, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane and the Irish Museum of Modern Art held a major retrospective of his work which included an exhibition of large scale sculptures on O'Connell street. In 2011 an important survey of Flanagan's early work was held at Tate Britain and in the same year, Silâns was published, a collection of articles written by Barry Flanagan, Alistair Jackson and Rudy Leenders during their time at St Martin's School of Art in 1964-1965. In 2012 Chatsworth House hosted an exhibition of Flanagan's bronze monumental bronze sculptures in a parkland setting.