The sculptor Barry Flanagan (1941–2009) was one of Britain’s most original and inventive artists and a key figure in the development of British and international sculpture. He is best known for the large-scale bronze hare sculptures that he began producing in the early 1980s and that can be seen in major galleries and public spaces around the world. Less well known is the astonishing variety of his earlier work, in which he experimented with materials as varied as cloth, plaster, sand, hessian and rope.
A contemporary of Gilbert & George and Bruce McLean, Flanagan studied sculpture at St Martin’s School of Art in London from 1964 to 1966. Taking this period as a starting point and following his career up to the seminal Large Leaping Hare of 1982, the authors explore the ways in which Flanagan challenged traditional notions of the language of sculpture, drawing inspiration from his profound engagement with literature and poetry.
This first comprehensive study of Flanagan’s early period accompanies a major exhibition at Tate Britain. Extensively illustrated, with essays by leading experts, it reveals Flanagan to be one of the most innovative and influential British artists of the second half of the twentieth century.
Clarrie Wallis is Curator of Contemporary British Art at Tate
Andrew Wilson is Curator of Modern and Contemporary British Art at Tate
Jo Melvin is a lecturer at Chelsea College of Art & Design, London
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